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, DEC 13 1899 

BX 9225 .A25 A4 ; 

Adger, John B. 1810-1899. 
My life and times, 1810-1899 








The Presbyterian Committee of Publication. 


JAMES K. IIAZEK, Secretary of PxiblimUon. 


Richmond, Va. 


This Autobiography deserves, and doubtless will re- 
ceive, a hearty welcome at the hands of a discriminating 
and appreciative public. The reader will readily per- 
ceive by glancing over the Table of Contents that it is 
much more than a simple detail of private life ; it is the 
history of a very important and influential branch of the 
Church of Christ, in her struggles to maintain the faith 
once delivered to the saints, as that church was called, in 
the providence of God, to deliver her testimony during the 
century now rapidly drawing to its close. The author 
saw the light of day during the first decade of the nine- 
teenth century, and closed his eyes in death when but two 
years remained of the last decade. 

It was written, not during his youth and inexperience, 
nor yet in the middle period of life, when his energies 
were expended in the heat of battle, but after the hand of 
God had been laid upon him, and through physical infir- 
mities his soul had been called into the chamber of afflic- 
tion to commune in secret with the Father of mercies and 
the God of all grace. Thus, whilst rapidly ncaring the 
haven of eternal rest, he entered upon this work of review- 
ing the storms of life. His course was almost run, the 
goal of a finished and successful race was just within his 
grasp, when he delivered this dying testimony, and, like 
the Psalmist, "showed thy strength unto this generation 
and thy power to every one that is to come.". It must 
therefore impart a quickened interest to these pages when 
we reflect that they were written with eternity in view, 


looking backward over the troubled past; also forward 
into a glorious future. When the light of nature was 
dying and the light of the celestial city was dawning, he 
paused in the midst of Jordan to erect this monument to 
the glory of God, as a token to those who should come 
after. That pen which he liad so diligently used in life 
to propagate and defend the truth, and so tenaciously held 
in his closing hours, dropped from the faithful hand only 
when the last summons came, and the ink was scarcely 
dry when his spirit took its flight. And yet he had not 
fully accomplished all that was planned. "Chapter XI., 
Providential Dealings — Full Account of Revision," it 
will be noted, has been left "unwritten." The decree had 
gone forth, "Seal up those things . . . and write them 

Although this book was written during the closing 
years of its venerable author, yet his mental faculties had 
been most remarkably preserved ; so that we have the re- 
sult of his fully ripened powers, chastened by affliction 
and thoroughly disciplined by long years of faithful ap- 
plication and diligent use. This consideration has an im- 
portant bearing upon that very large section of the book, 
embracing two chapters on "The Controversies of My 
Times." The bent of his mind, the many years spent in 
the faithful, earnest, and diligent study of Ecclesiastical 
Polity, to the teaching of which in the Theological Semi- 
nary he had devoted many years in the very prime of life, 
furnished him with unusual qualifications for this calm 
review of those controversies. Truly, he seemed to have 
been qualified and called of God to w^rite these chapters 
before he could say, "I have finished my course." This 
feature of the work has been noticed by others. 

The Rev. Dr. ITazcn, of Richmond, Va., has written: 
"Its chief value will be found in the light which it throws 
upon the critical periods of the history of the Presbyte- 


rian Chnrcli during tlie century. ISTo man was more 
familiar with the notable controversies of the whole pe- 
riod, nor better able to give the history of them ; no man 
more fully imderstood the causes leading to the division 
of the old church; and no man was more active in the 
organization of the Southern Presbyterian Church and 
its agencies than was Dr. Adger ; and no one has given to 
all questions that have stirred the church, from its or- 
ganization to the present time, a more earnest and intelli- 
gent consideration than he. . . . So that there is need 
of just such a review of the history of those times, with 
the testimony of one who, as much as any one, was 
familiar with the inside history of the Church." 

The Rev. Dr. Palmer, of Xew Orleans, La., says of the 
work : "Four or five of the earlier chapters of the proposed 
volume were kindly submitted to my perusal by the 
revered author, which led me to urge upon him the com- 
pletion and ]:)u])lication of the work. Dr. Adger was dis- 
tinguished for the honesty and earnestness of his convic- 
tions ; and as the last years of his prolonged life were 
given to the task, the public has every assurance of his 
fidelity to the truth in the statement of all the issues in 
the controversies of his day. Its exceeding timeliness at 
the present juncture cannot be overestimated." 

Aside, however, from this feature of the volume, there 
will be a peculiar charm to many readers in turning these 
pages and tracing the developments of God's providence 
in the "Life" of the author, from his cradle to his grave. 
Surely, it will be edifying to the pious heart of the de- 
vout reader to note the windings of this subtle stream of a 
life so full of various incidents, of abounding grace, and 
of triumphant faith. To the young, it will be a tonic ; to 
the aged, a cordial ; to those still battling for truth, it will 
serve to gird them anew for the strife, with unalterable 
resolve to fight on till death shall secure a crown of vie- 


tory over all falsehood, in the presence of him who is the 
King of Truth, the Head of the Church, and the Saviour 
of Sinners. There are many thousands of God's dear 
children shut in by the hand of bodily infirmity ; to such, 
what treasures of joy may be discovered in this miveiling 
of the life of one whom the Father loved, and whom there- 
fore he chastened. 

Jas. L. Martin. 
Palmyka, ]\Io. 



OuK Ancestry, ........ 9 



My Childhood and Early Youth, . . . .41 



ACADEIVIY AND CoLLEGE LiFE, . . . . . .56 



Theological Seminary Life. — Our Marriage and Sail- 
ing TO Smyrna. — My Wife's Ancestry, ... 70 



Life Among the Armenians, ... . . 90 

1834— 184G. 


Visit to America for a Year, but My Return was Not 

Allowed, and What Followed, . . . .130 


Five Years' Work as Missionary to the Negroes in 

Charleston, . . . . . . . .164 




Retirement from Negro Work. — Dr. Girardeau Suc- 
ceeds. — Eyes Recuperate from Five Years' Farm 
Life. — Called to Theological Seminary, . . 201 



Literary Work. — W^riting. — Editing — Publishing. — 

Seminary Life. — Calvin's Institutes, . . . 227 


Reminiscences of the War, ...... 327 


Providental Dealings. — Full Account of the Revision, 350 
(Unwritten. ) 


The Controversies of My Times, . . . . .351 



Controversies of Science with the Word of God, . . 412 



The Condition of Missions Among the Armenians in the 

Year 1896, GG7 


The Armenian Crisis in Turkey. — The Massacre of 1894, 673 



Our Axcestry. 



Y rATHER claimed that our ancestors fought at 


Derry. He Avas speaking to his daughter Jane 
Anne, who was ambitious of an honorable ancestry, and 
he said, "Your ancestors fought at Derry till they were 
lousy, and that is honor enough for you." He was not a 
man to make such a claim without knowing well the 
grounds on which he based it. He may have intended 
that this honor came to us in his father's line ; or that it 
came to us in his mother's line ; or that it came to us in 
botli. He may also have intended that it came to us in 
the line of our mother's ancestors. It is possible that 
each one of these lines was represented among the heroic 
defenders of Londonderry. There are people of all three 
of these lines now in both Antrim and Derry. My grand- 
mother was a Crawford, and she had connections living 
in Columbia who could trace the family history back 
through five or six generations. This might bring them 
nearly or quite back to the time Londonderry was be- 
sieged. Macaulay tells us that the inhabitants were 
Anglo-Saxon, but witli the Englishry, as he calls them, 
were a good many Scotch. At the commencement of the 
siege, whilst the authorities hesitated, thirteen young ap- 
prentices, all of Scotch descent, took on them to close the 
gates against a detachment from the Irish army who had 
appeared and demanded entrance. That night messen- 
gers were sent to the Protestants of the neighboring 
counties to come to the city's defence. Hundreds of horse 
and foot obeyed immediately. These of course were 


Scotch people as well as Eng-lisli, and we may ))e sure 
tliorc were Crawfords ainoui;' tlioin, for the garrison 
within shortly became seven thousand arms-bearing men. 
"But," says Macaulay (Vol. III., p. 153), "the whole 
world could not have furnished seven thousand men bet- 
ter qualified to meet a terrible emergency, with clear 
judgment, dauntless valor, and stubborn patience. They 
were all zealous Protestants." He also says (page 113), 
"They were indeed not all of one country, nor of one 
church ;" but, according to him, "one common antipathy 
bound all these Protestants together — an antipathy to the 
Irish race and the Popish religion." 

But in 1GS9 amongst the reinforcements assembled at 
Chester under Schomberg for the relief of Londonderry 
and ready to depart for Ireland there were thousands of 
one class of men who had more of the antipathy just men- 
tioned than either English or Scotchmen. Macaulay tells 
us (page 325) that four regiments accompanied Schom- 
berg from amongst the French Refugees, who fled to 
London after the Revocation of the Edict of Xantes. 
These were three regiments of foot soldiers and one of 
cavalry. The cavalry regiment "was raised by Schomberg 
himself. The foot regiments were raised chiefly by the 
Marquess of Ruvigny. His abilities, his experience, and 
his munificent kindness made him the undisputed chief 
among the refugees. He was himself eighty years of age, 
but his two sons, both men of eminent courage, devoted 
their swords to the service of William. The younger son, 
who bore the name of Caillemote, was appointed colonel 
of one of the Huguenot regiments of foot. The two other 
regiments of foot were commanded by La Melloniere and 
Oambon, officers of high reputation. 

It is respecting these French exiles that ]\Licaulav says 
they were among the best troops under Schomberg's com- 
mand. He says (page 337) that "the dislike with which 
the most zealous English Protestant regarded the House 
of Bourbon and the Church of Rome was a lukewarm 
feeling when compared with that inextinguishable hatred 
which glowed in the bosom of the persecuted, dragooned, 
expatriated Calvinist of Languedoc. The Irish had 
:ilready remarked that the French heretic neither gave 


Tior took quarter." Accordin^'ly we find that at the hat- 
tie of the Boyne, where William commanded, when 
Schomberg g:ives the word, and Solmes' Blues move into 
the river followed by Londonderry and Enniskillen, it is 
Oaillemot who crosses next at the head of his long- column 
of French Refugees, followed by the main body of Eng- 
lish infantry and the Danes. 

Xow we know that some five hundred thousand of 
Louis' best subjects fled to Holland and to England when 
he revoked the Edict of Xantes. Many of them settled 
in London. These exiles carried with them remarkal)le 
industry, economy, and peculiar skill in various mechani- 
cal arts. ]\Iany of them were French manufacturers of 
various branches. It can hardly be doubted that some of 
Schomberg's soldiers would remain in Ireland after the 
close of the war by the flight of James to Paris. These 
would link to Ireland some of their brethren whom they 
liad left behind in London. How natural that many of 
these should prefer to the crowded streets of London a 
residence in the beautiful region of ISTorth Ireland, when 
they and their brethren who had served under King \Yil- 
liam would be sure to find a warm welcome among their 
English and Scotch fellow Protestants. And how natural 
that thus many more should be attracted thither from 
F^rance itself to set up silk and linen factories in Ulster. 

The Rev. Dr. Henry Quigg, a Presbyterian minister 
of Conyers, Ga., is a native of the Xortli of Ireland, and 
writes me that he heard a great deal about the siege of 
Derry from his mother when he was a boy. Her people 
were engaged in that terrible conflict. Dr. Quigg has 
long been an earnest student of the history of LHster. He 
is a very high authority in respect to Irish antiquity, and 
he says that "it is very certain that Schomberg, who fell 
at the battle of the Boyne, brought over a large body of 
French Protestant soldiers, who fought the battles of 
William III., of glorious fame and immortal memory, in 
Ireland. Very many of these French remained in Ire- 
land, as they had no country to call their own." "The 
persecuted Protestants came to Ulster in great numbers 
and established manufactories of various kinds in the 
<'ounties of Antrim, Down, and Derrv. Ulster became 


the iratlierinii- g-round of those persecuted for conscience* 
sake in tlie diiferent parts of Europe, but specially in 
France and Holland. They engaged in all kinds of man- 
ufacturing, which I am satisfied embraced linen as well as 

Dr. Quigg speaks of the settlement of the refugees in 
Ulster aboiit two hundred years ago. We might naturally 
expect to find that some descendants of these people should 
still be found in that province. Their names, especially, 
and their other characteristics should point them out. It 
is thus in South Carolina with the descendants of the 
Huguenots. Accordingly there is in Ulster at this day 
a considerable number of persons whose name has as fully 
the French shape as the well-known name Huger. But 
in our country neither that French name nor many others 
like it, as for instance Legare, have retained the French 
pronunciation. It is just so with the name of the persons 
in Ireland whom I refer to. It is spelt in three different 
ways, all pronounced exactly alike, but not pronounced 
in French fashion. All this looks as if the Ulster people 
were in this case handling the name of foreigners. The 
name referred to I have never found either in English or 
Scotch history. It looks distinctively like a French name, 
and it may point oiit the descendants of French people. 
It certainly does not jjoint out the descendants of English 
people, nor yet the descendants of Scotch people, and 
certainly those it does point out are not the descendants 
of the Irish. In Ulster this name is sometimes spelt 
Edger, xVdgar, Adger, but it is always pronounced one 
way. The argument then for our partial French origin 
stands thus. It seems to be certain that two hundred 
years ago there were many French Protestants settled in 
Ulster. It also seems to be certain that they established 
linen manufactures there. It seems to be probable that 
there are many descendants of these people there who still 
retain their French name, and in some degree their blood. 
But it is ahs-olutchj certain that after the lapse of eighty 
years, that is, at least one hundred and twenty years ago, 
there was a linen manufactory and bleaching green 
owned and operated in Dunean, County Antrim, Prov- 
ince of Ulster, and that the owner stamped that French 


name upon the linen he produced. Xow that man was 
certainly my grandfather, James Adger, and to make the 
conclusion still more complete and positive, my father is 
known to have claimed that his ancestors came over from 
France to Ireland. He said to my sister Jane Anne, "My 
people were not Scotch ; they were French." 

The fourth and the fifth statements just made I cannot 
set aside. The fifth is testimony from ample intelligence 
and unimpeachable veracity. Yet, although one element 
of the paternal blood was really French, it always paid 
due honor to its sister element, which was Scotch-Irish. 
I remember well how great was my father's admiration 
oi William 11. Crawford, of Georgia. He was certainly a 
very great man, filled many important offices for the State 
of Georgia, and but for a coalition in the House of Repre- 
sentatives at Washington, between the friends of his op- 
posing candidates, Clay and Adams, he would have been 
elected President of the United States. He was beyond 
all comparison my father's preference, which I have often 
heard him express. But no doubt the name and blood 
of the Crawfords had something to do with this. 

It was in the year 1838 that my father took me and 
my brother James to the north of Ireland. The places I 
remember best are P)elfast, The Giants' Causeway, Ran- 
dallstown, and eight miles from Randallstown, Dunean. 
I remember also Toome Bridge, one mile from Dunean, 
with its little hotel where the sign that hung out in front 
had on it the picture of a bloody hand cut off at the wrist. 
But I do not remember what chieftain's hand or what 
bloody scene it represented. Toome Bridge is famous for 
its eels, and riding past there in the morning we engaged 
lodgings for the night and supper. Such a supper of 
Irish eels and Irish potatoes, both of finest quality, I 
never ate before or since. But my father's main object 
was that we might go and visit our grandfather's grave at 

]\Ly grandfather Avas, as said before, a linen manufac- 
turer. He had his bleaching green at Dunean. The orig- 
inal stamp which he put on the linen he made is now in 
the possession of Ellison Adger Smyth, given to him by 
my sister Jane Anne. It is made of a plate of solid brass, 


into which are cut tlie names James Adger, Dunean, An- 
trim, and it has a nicely turned wooden handle. This 
stamp put into blue ink was then pressed by the hand 
upon every piece of linen cloth. There is a memorandum 
on a little, old yellow fragment of paper, by whom written 
does not appear, which reads thus, "James Adger died 
March the 25th day, half an hour after six in the morn- 
ing, aged 41 years!^ Died March 25th, 1783." On the 
back of this little memorandum is written in my father's 
hand, "When J. Adger died." He "left his widow well 
to do." These are the names of his children: Jane, who 
married Charles Kidd ; Betsey, and three sons, William, 
James and Robert. 

This wdiole visit of mine to Ireland, including Duncan, 
and the grandfather's grave, is indistinctly impressed on 
my memory. I had left my work at Smyrna, which was 
uppermost in my mind. Moreover, I was looking forward 
to a separation for years from my wife, whose health re- 
quired her to return with my parents to Charleston. I 
prefer, therefore, to borrow what follows from the nar- 
rative of my nephew, Ellison Adger Smyth, who visited 
the home of our ancestors last summer (1896). He says, 
"After leaving the railroad station at Randallsto^ra, and 
seeing no teams, T turned back to ask questions of a police- 
man. Quite a crowd had gotten off the train, and not 
finding the officer, I went up to two men who had gotten 
oif, and asked about Moneynick and then about Duncan 
and the Adgers. The elder gentleman, whose name is 
Frederick McCuUough, who was well-dressed and ap- 
peared to be a man of culture and refinement, said he 
lived in Duncan village, and his mother was an Adger, 
and his father was the late rector of the Episcopal Church 
at Duncan. I said to him, 'Mv mother was an Adger.^ 
'Indeed V he said, 'and how so V I told him, and he said, 
*Yes,' he knew^ some of the family lived in the Southern 
States. He urged me to stay all night with him, and 
oifered to show me all around, and hunt up my kin. The 
other man, aged about thirty-five, was John C. Stewart, 
who had married ]\rcCullough's sister's daughter, a grand- 
daughter of an Adger. In reply to my question McCul- 
lough said the name was spelt Adcjar, Edgcr and Adger, 


all one family, and all pronounced -as we do. I hired a 
jannting car, and Mr. Stewart went with us, first to 
Moneynick, and thence to Dunean, There we visited, 
first, the Presbyterian church and graveyard, but found 
no tombstones over seventy-five years old. The church 
was a modern building in fine order, and Stewart said 
here the great Dr. Cook was ordained. We went on then 
to the Episcopal church, a venerable stone edifice, but 
much smaller, and Stewart, who is a Presbyterian, says 
the congregation is small. The church-yard is very large, 
and has been the burial place for many generations. Here 
on one side, near the church, I found the Adger burial 
ground. Xear the centre of the group I found this : 


WHO Died March 25th, 1783, 


"The stone is erect, in good condition, the marble fine, 
seven or eight inches thick. The grave is sodded over, 
and in good repair. Tlie old graveyard is much over- 
grown with grass and tall weeds, and we had to make our 
way through this growth in order to find the stone wdiich 
we sought. The fia'ure S in the vear 1783 is the onlv part 
in the inscription hard to make out. There were some 
weeds on the grave itself; these I cut off, and left the 
grave in good shape." 

He adds, ''On one side of your grandfather's grave was 
an old stone to John Edger, who died 1701, aged sixty- 
three years; next to that Robert Edger, 1702. On the 
other side of your grandfather's tomb is one to John 
Edger, of Cargan, 1878, aged ninety years, and his wafe 
Xancy, 1885, aged ninety-one years." 

Here, then, Ellison Adger Smyth found two grave- 
stones bearing the name of Edger, one of which lacks only 
four and the other only five of being two hundred years 
old. One of these men died at the age of sixty-three ; 
perhaps the other may have been of the same age. Now, 
the Revocation of the Edict of ]^antes was in 1685, six- 
teen years before the death of one, and seventeen before 
the death of the other of these men. Thev mav both of 


thcni have been Huguenot refugees, who fought at the 
siege of Derry in 16S9, and subsequently with William 
of Orange at the battle of the Bo\Tie. ]\Iy nephew said 
Mr. McCullough laughed at the idea of his mother's peo- 
ple being French. He said they were all from Scotland. 
But Mr. McCullough might easily be mistaken on this 
point. How many people in the upper part of South CJar- 
olina could tell where their ancestors were living two hun- 
dred and twenty years ago ? If I should ask any one of 
them of more than ordinary intelligence to tell me whether 
his great-great-great-grandfather in 1675 lived in Eng- 
land, or in Scotland, or in Wales, or in France, or in Hol- 
land, he would certainly laugh more than Mr. McCullough 
did because I was asking him what he would consider 
such a silly question. I cannot suppose that much more 
historical intelligence prevails to-day in the north of Ire- 
land than we find here in the north part of South Carolina 
amongst our Scotch-Irish population. 

My nephew next sought for the old Duncan Flax Mill. 
He says, "The little Stone ]\[ill, built partly of stone and 
partly of concrete, is still there. The name given it by 
(sverybody is 'The Old Mill.' The place where the wheel 
stood can be pointed out, and the tail race is separate and 
distinct from the stream ; it is arched over and the road 
passes over it, and over the bridge across what they call 
Duncan River, but what we would call a creek. The peo- 
ple all say that the old tail race has been there for over 
a hundred years. It is still left undisturbed. jSTo water 
passes through it, but it leads to the river backing up 
under the mill building. It is eight or ten feet wide, and 
a man can walk under it by stooping." 

''The house is now occupied by Patrick Mclntyre, a 
blacksmith. He showed me the old dam site and tail race, 
and where the wheel was placed, and said that his father 
before him had lived in this building for over sixty 

Moneynick, where my father was born November 2, 
1777, is now a very small hamlet, with hardly a decent 
dwelling house, although it has two little flax mills, spin- 
ning the flax, but not weaving. They are run by steam, 
and the steam is got by burning the straw of the plant. 



Dimean is still a respectable village. My nephew says, 
''It has two churches, a school-house, and one store and 
a settlement of farmers' houses built of stone. In fact, I 
did not see a wooden building in Ireland that I remember. 
Most are stone or concrete. Some families live there, 
but spelling the name Edger." 

His account of the Old Mill at Dunean ends wdth this 
statement, ''All the linen sheetings, which are the plain 
linen goods, not table cloths, that I have seen, are stamped 
in blue with a little hand stamp, like the one I have. For 
years, however, printed tickets with pictures on them 
have been gradually introduced for all cloths. The linen 
mills and most of the cotton mills have stone floors, and 
the help I saw, fully seventy-five per cent, were bare- 
footed in the mill." 

After the death of my grandfather, his widow married 
again. Her second husband's name was Kobert Rodgers. 
lie had been the foreman of the Dunean Mill. He 
soon ran through her property, being too fond of whis- 

In a little more than ten years, viz., 1793, our grand- 
mother left Ireland for this country, accompanied by her 
two sons elames and Robert, her daughter Betsey, also her 
intemperate husband Rodgers, and their four little girls, 
Esther, Margaret, Mary and Isabella, the last named be- 
ing an infant. They had a very long passage, as was 
nsual in those days, namely, sixteen weeks and three days, 
arriving in I^ew York January, 1794. The other son,Wil- 
liam Adger, had married young and emigrated previously, 
coming to South Carolina. His wife's maiden name was 
McCrory, which is the Irish or Scotch-Irish way of writ- 
ing Rodgers or Rogers. I do not know, but suspect that 
my grandmother's second husband belonged to that 

The voj^age from the other side of the Atlantic was a 
very different affair one hundred years ago from what it 
is now. Inferior ships, inferior navigators, very far in- 
ferior accommodations for passengers, and a long passage 
always, and great suffering. Food and water always ran 
short, and sometimes gave out entirely. I heard my 
father tell of a pig being slaughtered on the deck and how 


a rain-storm coining on soon after, all efforts were gladly 
made to catch every drop that fell, and some of the water 
they were thankful in their great extremity to drink 
showed signs of the pig's blood, and bristles too. 

On the third day after their arrival in Xew York the 
infant Isabella died and was bnried in what nsed to be 
Dr. Spring's chnrch-yard, the old ''Brick Chnrch," where 
now, I think, the Xew York City Post Office stands. Of 
the other three little girls, who all lived and grew up, 
Esther married in Fairfield District, S. C, where her 
brother William lived. At his house all three of them 
seem to have spent some time while children, or growing 
up girls. Esther's husband was William Herron, a re- 
spectable planter. She raised a large family and lived to 
be ninety-four or ninety-five years old. The other two 
girls, Margaret and ^lary, went to a wealthy Uncle 
liodgers of theirs, living at Kinderhook, Columbia 
county, Xew York, and there they were married, Mar- 
garet to Charles Whiting and Mary to James Clark, both 
respectable merchants and partners in business. Mar- 
garet lived to be more than seventy, her only daughter 
married an eminent lawyer of Albany, X. Y., named 
Reynolds, and has raised a large family. Mary lived to 
be about as old as her sister Esther, and has two daughters 
still living at this date (Xovember, 1896), both widows, 
one, Mrs. Shaw, in Xew York City, and the other, Mrs. 
Bain, living at Kinderhook. 

]\ly Uncle Robert Adger died while yet comparatively 
a young man. He had two daughters. Xeither survives 
at this day. My father took them both into his family 
when they were left orphans. The older one married my 
cousin William Ellison. 

^ly uncle, William Adger, became wealthy, raised a 
large family and died an old man. Some of his descend- 
ants bearing the name of Adger are living in Louisiana, 
on the Red River. 

Their sister Betsey married Dr. Charles Whitlaw, a 
celebrated physician and naturalist, whose public lectures 
on botany possibly some few very old people in Charles- 
ton may now remember. She died early, and lies buried, 
I believe, in the Scotch church-yard (First Presbyterian), 



Having brought this history down so far, I must go 
back (asking my grandmother Eodgers' pardon), and 
speak more fully of her. Her maiden name was Margaret 
Crawford. I have been told by one who knew of her when 
she w^as my grandfather Adger's widow (Mr. James 
Black, of County Antrim) that she bore the title all 
through the country of "the handsome widow." Hand- 
some or not, I know she was godly, which is of far greater 
consequence. How often in my early childhood have I 
seen her at secret prayer in her bed-room at my father's 
house in Charleston. No doubt I was one of those who 
inherited a blessing thus. My father, I am convinced, 
Avas her darling son, and her Jemmy, as I often heard her 
call him, must have been truly a good boy. 

The New York to which so many North-Irish emi- 
grated was, even one hundred years ago, very different 
from what now bears that name. John Stephenson, in- 
ventor of the American horse-car, who is just my age, and 
was born, therefore, about 1810, says the "difference is 
amazing, and it looks like a fairy tale." He says that in 
his boyhood "New York City consisted of just a few 
small villages. The boys of one hamlet fared badly if 
found within the precincts of another, and on Saturday 
afternoons the boys of two rival hamlets would face each 
other on either side of a pit or cut and fight one another 
witJi stones." Such was the place to which my grand- 
mother, with her family of seven children, the oldest boy 
some fifteen years old, came in January, 1794. She had 
lost all, or nearly all, her property. A little shop she 
essayed to keep, "her Jemmy" being her mainstay. After 
awhile, as I have learned from a letter of my father's ad- 
dressed to his brother William in South Carolina, Robert 
Rogers reformed, and then it seems that he and my grand- 
mother had a grocery store, and Jemmy went to a trade. 
Whereabouts "the little shop" or "the grocery store" stood 
cannot be said ; very probably in that one of the hamlets 
lowest down the town. Doubtless they have each been 
succeeded by some eight or ten-story building, which con- 
stitutes the half of a magnificent square. In those days 
New York was in no respect superior to Charleston — de- 
cidedly, if I am not greatly mistaken, its inferior. Many 


circumstances combined to send Kew York to the top ; 
among them the tariff policy of the United States govern- 
ment, and the conrse of the Gulf Stream. 

It was probably not very long that my father remained 
with his mother at the little shop ; thence he went to 
learn the carpenter's trade. He did not like it. Many 
years ago I had pointed out to me a wooden building two 
or three stories high on Broadway on the roof of which 
he was at Avork when a lad, so ill at ease in that life that 
he was ready sometimes, as he said, to throw himself down 
to the ground. One day they were doing some carpen- 
ter's work on a ship in the harbor. Another ship was 
coming up from some foreign land. He was standing 
with other lads for a moment looking at this vessel, with 
his coat off and his sleeves rolled up, and one of the boys 
carrying a bucket full of tar behind him managed to im- 
merse his hands and arm up to the elbow. It turned out 
that a friend of the family, a Mr. James Henderson, was 
passenger on that vessel and he insisted on my father's 
quitting that business, and got him a position with some 
merchant. That merchant, however, soon failed in busi- 
ness. And so Jemmy, who had been told not to open the 
front door, set himself doAvn disconsolately on the sill of 
the door. Mr. Lang, a friend of his, came along and 
inquired, "Why don't you open the door?" Being an- 
swered, he said, "I was afraid of that." It was he who 
introduced Jemmy to old Mr. Bailey, who became a father 
to him. After him, in gratitude, he had me, who was his 
first-born son, named. Mr. Bailey was a dealer in hard- 
ware, and seems to have had a brass foundry, and I have 
heard my father say, pointing to a pair of old-fashioned 
brass fire-dogs, which had a little curved ornamentation 
in their front, that he remembered what a grand thing 
that was held to be wlien Mr. Bailey first invented that 

Some five or six years passed and my father had 
learned the business of dealing in hardware, which I have 
heard him say might be called a ''regular and difficult 
trade/' There came a ship from England with a cargo 
chiefly of that kind of goods, belonging to, or in charge of, 
an Englisliman whose name I cannot recall. I suppose 


possibly lie was what is called a supercargo, but he proved 
incompetent, and so it fell to Mr. Bailey to interpose, and 
he sent the vessel to Charleston with this Englishman in 
charge, but my father in charge of him. That errand de- 
cided his plans of life. It was in 1802. He never re- 
turned to live in New York. 

What a different family history had ours been had he 
not been sent to Charleston with that cargo and that super- 
cargo. With his energy and judgment and integrity, had 
he remained in New York City and begun to rise when 
New York began, he must, with the favor of Providence,, 
have been one of her richest millionaires. But what then 
had become of all of us ? 

Having sold out the cargo, he was going up to Fairfield 
to visit his brother William, who had long been settled 
there as a planter. The journey from the city was to be 
on horseback — perhaps the horse was one that had been 
bought for his brother. But this young man, so lately 
from New York, had never learned much about horse- 
back riding. So he mounted with stirrups rather too long 
for him, but he did not mind that, and started oif on a 
pretty lively gait. Old Mr. McCreight, of Winnsboro, 
w^ho was his travelling companion, overtook him after he 
had reached the outskirts of the town, and perceived that 
he vras riding uncomfortably, but mischievously refrained 
from suggesting the necessary shortening, and my father 
rode on a long time, and became tired enough. I am not 
sure if it was all day or the whole journey that he made 
in this fix. I fear I have never forgiven the old 
Winnsboro citizen for this unfriendly dealing with the 

It was during this visit to his brother that one day he 
saw Miss Sarah Elizabeth Ellison riding on horseback 
from her father's plantation into Winnsboro. Hers wa& 
a handsome face and figure, and she wore a stylish beaver 
riding hat, and the young gallant New York Irishman 
was done for. 

It was a case of love at first sight with my father, and 
I am sure from what my mother has told me that she also 
was interested at first sight. But when he called to make 
his formal proposal he met with an unexpected obstacle. 


The yomia,' ladyV father had married a second wife, who 
proved not a good step-mother. Miss Sarah was in the 
house, but happened to be upstairs inspecting and repair- 
ing some damage done by a tame squirrel which had got 
into her drawer, and Step-mother would not let the young 
man's name be announced to her. Thus, placing herself 
between the two parties, she kept the young man mean- 
while in ignorance of the real state of the case. After 
waiting a reasonable time to see his lady love, but in vain, 
he got vexed and started off, being heard to say, ''If I 
cannot marry where affection calls, I shall go to Xew 
York and marry where duty requires." So he took him- 
self off in a hurry right down to Charleston. The young 
lady became aware of her danger, WTote to her brother 
John, then a merchant in Charleston, and explained to 
him the part her step-mother had acted, and bid him go 
to see the young man and explain matters. He soon 
found him, and it is said the two young men took a walk 
together around the Tobacco Inspection Building, then 
famous in Charleston, and it was not long before he was 
up in Winnsboro again, and the matter was peacefully 
and pleasantly settled. 

The tobacco crop was then a very important matter in 
Charleston commerce. From many miles around the city 
they used to roll in the big hogsheads, each drawm by one 
horse. It became necessary that there should be a public 
inspection of tobacco. An immense shed was erected 
along Hudson street, running from King to Meeting, and 
co^;ering all the ground now occupied by the Citadel. 
This was sometimes tilled with hogsheads of tobacco wait- 
ing for inspection and sail. It was around this capacious 
mart that our two young men took their interesting walk 
whilst the brother skillfully smoothed away the offence 
his sister had unwittingly given. 

My Mother's Ancestry. 

Let me now turn and attempt to give an account of my 
mother's ancestry on her father's side. I have before me 
two documents containing testimony from two grandsons 
of my great-grandfather, William Ellison, to-wit : John, 
the son of Robert Ellison, and William, the son of John 


Ellison. These two grandsons were men of abont the 
same age, and they had equal opportunities to know^ of 
what they spoke. The former, John Ellison, was a man 
of excellent sense and strict integrity ; the other also was 
a man of high intelligence, a lawver by profession and 
entirely worthy of confidence. They differ on some 
points which only establishes their truthfulness. The 
former gives his testimony through a niece. She is an 
educated lady, who immediately recorded all his state- 
ments, except two, and afterwards got him to repeat them. 
But my cousin William's statements are made from mem- 
ory by one of his daughters, Elizabeth Martha, in one of 
the aforesaid documents. She also was a lady of high in- 
telligence. Her father had a family Bible in which his 
father had written a ''history of the family in many 
jiages." This was consumed when his dwelling was burnt. 
She claims to remember very distinctly the facts of this 
narrative, but not the dates ; but she says her father had 
given great attention to the family history, learning it 
both from the record in the Bible and from conversations 
with his father. 

Before T proceed to examine these two lines of testi- 
mony, I submit two preliminary statements furnished 
me by two cousins, devoted to antiquarian researches. 
The first one of these is interesting, though it does not 
claim any great importance. It runs thus : 'Tn Collins 
Peerage of England, edition of 1768, Vol. VII., p. 357, 
there is the record of the marriage of Robert Ellison, 
Esq., of Hepburn, County Durham, England, to a titled 
lady, betW'Cen 1600-1700, the precise date not given. 
This is valuable as showing that there were Ellisons in 
Durham. And also the name Robert is significant." 

The second statement is based on a reference to "Los- 
sing's Field Book of the Revolution," wdiere mention is 
made of two Ellisons, Jolm and William, who do not 
seem, however, to belong to our immediate family. Their 
home was New Windsor, ]^ew Jersey. My informant 
received a letter from one of their descendants in Xew 
Jersey, which says, "The names Andrew^, William, 
Robert and John were peculiar to the Ellison family of 
Durham, and in the old cemetery there you would 


find those names on the old tombstones." lie had lately 
visited the place. His grandfather was an Andrew Elli- 
son. Here we have a statement that is direct and very 

I now introduce an item of Uncle John Ellison's testi- 
mony confirmatory of the statement above given. He 
tells his niece, "Our forefathers went from England to 
Ireland during one of the persecutions." Thus John be- 
gins his account, not with his grandfather, William Elli- 
son, in 17-14, but with our forefathers. Yet when he 
speaks of his grandfather's settlement in Ireland, he 
places it in County xVntrim, 

Cousin William Ellison, who was popularly known as 
Lawyer Billy Ellison, practised law in Camden, and also 
in Chester, before he settled at what became his life's 
home, on Dutchman's Creek, Fairfield county. He be- 
gins his testimony, as it is written by his daughter, thus : 
^'I have many times heard from my father that the Elli- 
sons were landed proprietors with considerable property 
living on the borders between two coimties in Ireland, but 
the names of their residences I have forgotten, though it 
was mentioned in that Bible. They were called Lairds.'^ 
I take it these two counties w^ere Derry and Antrim. 

Uncle John's statement about our forefathers may be 
very easily understood as running back a half century or 
more. This would bring us to the time of the siege of 
Londonderry in 1689. Macaulay tells us (Vol. III., page 
115) how, M'lien the Irish army were first seen approach- 
ing, and thirteen Scotch apprentices had seized the keys 
and closed the gates of the terrified city, "messengers 
were sent, under cover of the following night, to the 
Protestant gentlemen of the neighboring counties. . . . 
The Protestants of the iieighborhood promptly obeyed the 
summons of Londonderry. Within forty-eight hours hun- 
dreds of horse and foot came by various roads to the city.'^ 
Thus the number of men within the walls was increased 
to seven thousand. I would be glad to know positively 
\vhat I am quite prepared to believe, that our Ellison 
''forefathers'' were among the first to give this response. 
But of another thing I do feel very sure, namely, that 
after Major Pobert Ellison had given his daughter Sarah 


Elizabeth to the young man who had asked for her, he 
would often make him sit down while he told him not only 
all about what he himself had done and suffered in the 
Revolutionary war, but also all that he had heard his 
father tell about what had been done by our "forefathers" 
and others at the siege of Londonderry and the battle of 
the Boyne. He w^ould thus be all the better prepared to 
say to his grown-up daughter, when he had one, that it 
was honor enough for her that her ''forefathers" had 
fought at Derry. 

Lawj'er William's daughter says, "I think that our 
great-grandparents were dead when the Irish rebellion 
commenced." Probably they were. The Irish rebellion 
was in 1798. They removed from Ireland to America 
fifty-four years before the Irish rebellion and very prob- 
ably were dead w^hen that event occurred. But she goes 
on to say, ''There was an elder brother who was the head 
of the" family and took j)art in that rebellion. He was 
executed when Lord Fitzgerald died, and the family 
property was confiscated by the English government." 
Here again, of course, is another mistake. Lord Edward 
Eitzgerald did head the Irish rebellion in 1798, but the 
elder brother must have lived long before 1798 or 1744 
either. Here comes in an item of Uncle John's testimony, 
who told his niece that "some of our forefathers engaged 
in the wars against William the Conqueror." Of course, 
here is a lapsus linguae of the old man or a lapsus pennae 
of the young lady. He meant to say William of Orange. 
But the mistake is of slight importance, while the fact 
which is stated is very important. Some of our fore- 
fathers fought for William the Third in his Irish battles, 
but some of these forefathers of ours were loyal to King 
James and fought for him. It is generally so ; war 
divides families, puts brothers on one side and brothers on 
the other — equally honorable it frequently is to be on 
either side. It is even quite possible that some of our 
forefathers who did not actually fight for King James 
sympathized strongly with the men of that side ; har- 
bored them, concealed them when pursued, and so became 
involved actually, though not formally, in rebellion 
against King William, so that their landed estates and 


other property were all confiscated by King William's 
government. But here comes a positive statement attrib- 
nted to "Lawyer William." "My father told me that his 
nncle, who was executed, was a man of culture and educa- 
tion." Well, her father did not say he was executed for 
taking ])art in the Irish rebellion. He was too intelligent 
and well-read to have made such a misstatement about that 
rebellion. Moreover, it was not possible that any uncle of 
his could have been in that rebellion. His uncles and his 
grandfather were all off to America fifty-four years before 
the rebellion. His daughter did not correctly understand 
what he said. He must have used the word uncle in a 
very wide sense ; he might have meant to say that some 
grand uncle of his amongst "those forefathers" of whom 
TTncle John speaks, a man of culture and education, was 
executed for being somehow drawn in amongst the op- 
posers of William of Orange. 

ISTow we are prepared to hear what these two grandsons 
tell about the emigration from Ireland to Pennsylvania 
and to South Carolina. 

First, we have from the written document of Lawyer 
Billy Ellison's daughter, the following statement: "My 
grandfather was only fifteen years of age when they emi- 
grated to America and settled in Pennsylvania. He, with 
his brother Bobert, came to South Carolina, and bought 
lands in Fairfield District, ' and lived there until they 
died. My grandfather married his first wife, Mary 
Byers, the sister of ^Mrs. Rachel Milligan, of Charleston ; 
she died a few days after the birth of an infant daughter, 
Mary Byers Ellison. Mrs. Robert Ellison took the infant 
and nursed it with her son John Ellison, nearly the same 
age. Previous to moving to the up-country, my grand- 
father John married again in Charleston, his second wife 
Elizabeth McCormick, my father's mother. My father 
was known as Lawyer Billy Ellison. My grandfather 
survived his second wife some years, and married a third 
wife, who was a widow, Mrs. Harrison, the mother of 
Cousin Mary Ellison, whom you know as the wife of your 
LTncle William Ellison, who lived at the old [Robert] 
Ellison homestead in Fairfield District. IS'either my 
father nor his sister [half-sister, Mary Byers Ellison, 


wife of Austin Peay] spoke of any sisters of their father, 
that is, any sisters of John or Robert Ellison." 

Secondly, we have an account of the emigration and 
subsequent historv given l)y my uncle John Ellison as 
carefully written down by his niece. "Your great-grand- 
father William Ellison, with his family of four sons and 
one daughter, moved from County iVntrim, Ireland, to 
Pennsylvania in l7-i4. Having moderate means, he left 
but little to his children. He and his wife are buried in 

''William, Andrew, John and Robert and one daughter 
moved to Fairfield, S. C, after the death of their parents. 
William and Andrew lived bachelors, and the daughter 
married Mr. McAllister, of South Carolina. 

"Robert Ellison, your grandfather, was born in County 
Antrim, Ireland, 1742, and was about nineteen years of 
age when he moved from Pennsylvania to Fairfield, S. C. 
Having a good English education, he soon secured the 
position of surveyor, obtained lands and other property. 
He married Elizabeth Potts, of Charleston, j^ovember 6, 
1772, settled on his farm, two miles from Winnsboro, 
volunteered in the Revolutionary war. A man of indom- 
itable will and energy, he organized forthwith a company, 
of which he was captain, under General Moultrie, fought 
boldly, was promoted to major. At Stono his horse 
was killed under him. In the retreat from Augusta to 
Charleston under Moultrie (British under Lord Rawdon) 
he was daily engaged in skirmishes. The American army 
reached Charleston first, but he, while skirmishing, was 
taken prisoner, carried to Charleston, then to John's Is- 
land, then to the Dry Tortugas, and cruelly treated for 
two years. His wife, alone and unprotected with five 
children, was molested by the depredations of the Tories, 
depriving her of everything, tore her hair by the roots, 
which mark she bore through life. She, upon little pack 
horses, with her little ones and Xewry, an old servant, left 
for Charleston, hoping to find protection in her relatives. 
The old servant, Xewry, persuaded his wife, children and 
other servants, Londonderry and Belfast, to follow him 
and serve the family at the camps. He travelled, keeping 
vratch, all concealiuii: themselves in the woods at the 


glimpse of any one in the rear or front of them. Newry 
travelled ahead, procuring provisions, and met them at 
camp at night. xVfter reaching Charleston your grand- 
mother hired out these servants for her support. 

"She had left her house in charge of a hired man, Avho 
was attacked by the Tories. He jumped from a window 
where sat a Tory on watch ; in his escape he was cut on 
the head, and he affected to be dying, when some ex- 
claimed, 'Kill him, kill him !' Others cried, 'It is a shame 
to shoot a dying man !' and thus he made his escape, after- 
wards was seen and recognized by the family, but the 
house was burned. After the declaration of peace, she 
returned to her own home, her neighbors building her a 
house and caring for her, until your grandfather was re- 
leased from prison. 

"Your grandmother died on January 15, 1793. Your 
grandfather married again, Jennie Seawright. The chil- 
dren left home early in years. Your grandfather died 
March 8, 1806, and is buried alongside of his wife, and 
with his three brothers in the family burial ground on the 
old homestead, two miles from Winnsboro. My two 
brothers, "William and James Ellison, early went with me 
to Charleston, where when quite a youth I entered the 
house of Lesesne & Co., as clerk, and subsequently became 
a dry-goods merchant, in King street, near Broad." 

During this last-named period my uncle John was 
married to Miss Susannah Milligan, of Charleston. 

Eespecting Kobert Ellison's being taken prisoner by 
the British, a family tradition is that he was confined in 
one of the vaults under the old post-office building, in com- 
pany with Colonel Hayne, who was afterwards hanged ; 
also, that he was offered release if he would take the oath 
of allegiance, which he refused ; also, that part of his con- 
finement was on board a British prison-ship in the harbor 
of Charleston. Another of our family traditions is that 
when our grandmother reached Charleston with her five 
children, she interviewed the British commander and 
pleaded that, as he had her husband in confinement and 
her property all destroyed by the Tories, he ought to issue 
rations for her and her children. Her plea prevailed. 

In 1777 the famous Mt. Zion Society was organized in 


Cliarleston. Its first president was Colonel John Winn, 
and its wardens General William Strotliers and Captain 
Eobert Ellison. It began with a membership of fifty- 
eight. Among its members in the second year we find the 
names of Andrew Pickens, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney 
and Wade Hampton. In 1779 two hnndred and sixty- 
four names were found on its roll. The object of this 
society was to promote the education of the young men of 
the State, and its success was great. The centre of it came 
to be transferred to Winnsboro, and Captain Eobert Elli- 
son was one of its chief promoters. It is of record that 
in 1784 he rode to Rowan, X. C, to persuade the Rev. 
Thomas H. McCaule, who was a distinguished Presbyte- 
rian minister and graduate of Princeton College, to be- 
•come the president of Mt. Zion Academy. Under his ad- 
ministration it became a college, and finally, in some 
sense, there grew out of it the South Carolina College at 

Hitherto we have considered family records and family 
traditions. Let us now look into Bishop Gregg's ad- 
mirable History of the Old Chemws, where we shall find 
frequent reference to Robert Ellison, as playing a very 
important part in that portion of the State. By referring 
to the map, which Bislio]) Gregg gives of the old Cheraws, 
we shall see that the old Cheraws District covered the 
counties now kno^vn as Marlborough, Chesterfield, Dar- 
lington, Williamsburg, Clarendon, Sumter and Kershaw, 
and touched what is now kno^^^l as Chester and Fairfield 
counties. This Cheraws District was divided, after the 
Revolution, into three portions known as Chesterfield, 
Marlborough and Darlington ; but I cannot think that 
these were the same as the counties now bearing those 
names. The first mention which Bishop Gregg makes of 
Robert Ellison is in reference to a petition which the said 
Robert Ellison presented to the Legislature of South Car- 
olina, meeting in January, 1783. "On the 24th of Feb- 
ruary the petition of Robert Ellison was read, setting 
forth that he was an officer in the militia before the fall 
of Charlestown, and always exerted himself in the service 
of America — that he was made a prisoner in Camden, 
and confined on James Island under very unhappy cir- 


ciimstanecs, and therefore prayed relief from the penalties 
of an aet for amercing certain persons therein men- 
tioned, etc. The case of ]\Ir. Ellison seems to have been 
misunderstood. He was consequently relieved, and con- 
tinued to enjoy the confidence and esteem of his fellow- 
citizens to the close of his useful life." (Page 416.) 

Another mention by Bishop Gregg of Robert Ellison is 
the statement that at the JSTovember election in 1788 for 
the Parish of St. David's, Morgan Brown was returned 
as Senator, and Robert Ellison, with sundry other per- 
sons, as Representatives. (Page 448.) 

Another mention of Robert Ellison is when he was 
elected, with others, a delegate from St. David's Parish to 
a convention, meeting in Columbia, on the second Mon- 
day in May, 1790, to consider the question of a new State 
constitution. This convention met in due time. The new 
constitution was adopted on the 3d of June. It gave the 
counties of ^Marlborough, Chesterfield and Darlington two 
representatives each, and for the three, two senators. At 
the ensuing election, Morgan Brown and Robert Ellison 
were returned Senators. (Pages 450-451.) 

Again in January, 1791, he is elected by the Leo'isla- 
ture a county court judge for Darlington. (Page 452.) 

In October, 1792 he is re-elected Senator. (Page 

This year the Legislature meets on the 4th of Novem- 
ber, and on the 3d of December he presents a petition 
praying for relief to sundry persons unable to meet their 
payment of the "paper medium loan," by reason of ex- 
traordinary droughts and freshets, which ruined their 
crops. This petition is referred to a committee consisting 
of himself and Generals Barnwell and Pinckney. The 
report was favorable, and a bill passed in accordance 
therewith. At the session of the followin<i' year, 1793, 
he was elected sheriff for Cheraws. In 1795 he was ap- 
pointed by the Legislature colonel of the Thirty-eighth 
Regiment of Militia. (Pages 455 and 457.) 

The last references in Gregg's history to the then ( \)1- 
onel Robert Ellison are on pages 4G0 and 461, when he 
was appointed by the Legislature one of the commis- 
sioners to run out the line between Chesterfield and Dar- 


lingtoii, and also one of the commissioners to rebuild the 
conrt-house at Darlington. 

Now, as to all these statements which I have taken from 
Bishop Gregg's history, some difficnlties occur to my 

I am wondering how such a man as Robert Ellison 
could have been pointed at by the Legislature as worthy 
of being publicly amerced. But let it be observed that 
Major Ellison was captured at Camden, taken a prisoner 
to Charleston, offered a parole, which Colonel Hayne took 
and Ellison refused, and Ellison was then carried to 
James Island, and was also on the prison-ship in Charles- 
ton harbor, and finally a prisoner at St. Augustine, Fla., 
according to Moultrie, for three years. In the meantime 
his property in Fairfield was abandoned, his wife and 
children had gone to Charleston, then in the hands of the 
English, and had received for a long time rations from 
the British commander, and all of this had to be ex- 
plained. It is not to be supposed that there was a special 
act directed against Ellison, but he came under a general 
act, his property having been confiscated because of his 
long absence, and his family moving to Charleston under 
circumstances stated. 

Again, it might seem strange that in his petition for 
relief he only mentions James Island as the place of his 
suffering, whereas the family traditions affirm that he 
suffered imprisonment in other places. But then Gregg 
does not profess to give all of Ellison's petition to the 
Legislature, but only a synopsis of it. We do not know 
ho\\' much of detail Ellison put into his petition. 

Once more, it looks strange at first sight that Robert 
Ellison, returning to his farm after his liberation from 
prison, should so soon afterwards be found, according to 
Bishop Gregg, as filling various public offices away over 
in Darlington. Moreover, it is of public record at Winns- 
boro how he was in Fairfield in 1788, when he and his 
wife sold one of her grants of land, their oldest child, Su- 
sannah, being one of the witnesses to the deed, all of which 
raises a presumption that he and his family were then 
dwelling at their home in Fairfield. Still further, in 
1799, when he seems to have finished his career in Dar- 


liiigton, his two oldest sons were grown up young men. 
And how are we to account for it that neither John Ellison 
nor Lawyer Billy Ellison, in speaking to their children 
about the family history, should never have spoken of their 
father or grandfather having lived or held public office in 
the eastern part of the State ? But when we carefully con- 
sider the geography of South Carolina more than a hun- 
dred years ago, these difficulties lose their force. We 
must not confound the Darlington of that time with the 
Darlington of the present date. It was then no great 
distance from Fairheld to Darlington. The Darlington 
of that day embraced both Kershaw and Sumter counties, 
and Kershaw borders on Fairfield. By referring to the 
map in Gregg's History of the Cheraws, it will appear 
that the Cheraws District covered the counties now kno\vn 
as Marlboro, Chesterfield, Darlington, Williamsburg, 
Clarendon, Sumter and Kershaw, and touched what are 
now known as Chester and Fairfield counties. Camden, 
the county toAvn of Kershaw county, is only thirty miles 
from Winnsboro, the county to^vn of Fairfield. So that 
IVtajor Ellison might live near Winnsboro and yet, in 
those days of horse-back riding, might do business in 
parts of Darlington without inflicting very grievous al)- 
scnces upon his family. Let me add that my grand- 
mother's boys did not like their step-mother, and, as my 
Uncle John Ellison testifies, they departed from their 
paternal home, and found employment elsewhere in their 
very early years. 

Let us now inquire what remains to be said about my 
m.other's ancestry on her mother's side. It will be very 

Elizabeth Potts was the daughter of Thomas Potts. In 
the Secretary of State's office in Columbia, there is record 
of grants of land made to him by the British government 
as early as 1732. Such grants were continually made l)y 
thf British government to encourage emigration to their 
colonies in this then forest country. These grants were 
Tisually of one hundred acres each, the commissioners no 
doubt considering that one hundred acres would consti- 
tute a ])retty good farm, as it does in England. 

The record in the Secretary of State's office referred to 
above of grants of land to Thomas Potts is as follows : 


Elizabeth Potts, grant 100 acres, date December, ITT-i; 
George Potts, grant 100 acres, date December, 1753 and 
1772; James Potts, grant 100 acres, date December, 
1775; Jeremiah Potts, grant 100 acres, date December, 
1762 ; John Potts, grant 100 acres, date December, 
1767-68 and '69 ; Kobert Potts, grant 100 acres, date 
December, '66, '68 and '81 ; Sarah Potts, grant 100 acres, 
df.te December, '68. 

Then comes the name of Thomas Potts, opposite to 
v;hich it is written 1782 to 1736 several grants, and im- 
mediately under this is again the name of Thomas Potts, 
opposite to which is again written 1759-1770 several 

There is recorded in the clerk's office at Winnsboro, 
Pairfield District, a conveyance to Valentine Rochel of 
one hundred acres of land by Robert Ellison and his wife 
Elizabeth Ellison [late Elizabeth Potts], the said land 
being an original grant to Elizabeth Potts dated 4th day 
of May, 1775. 

Witness to deed, Susannah Potts Ellison and James 

The date of this deed is December 10, 1788. 

There is a Captain Richard Matchett living nine miles 
from Winnsboro. In this year of grace 1897 he is eighty- 
four years of age. Gentlemen writing me from Fairfield 
speak of him as "a fine old gentleman of the Irish style," 
and of "the highest character, venerated and beloved by 
everybody." This old gentleman testifies that his mother 
■\^'as a McGrady, and her mother an Alexander, and her 
m.other a Potts, and that she was a sister of the Elizabeth 
Potts who married my grandfather Robert Ellison. This 
sister died in Ireland, but her father and the rest of his 
family came direct to South Carolina. Captain Matchett 
also speaks of a grand uncle of his own, by name James 
Alexander, who was a merchant in Charleston, became 
rich and went back to Ireland. William and John Elli- 
son, sons of my grandfather Robert Ellison, while still 
very young on their first removal from home to Charles- 
ton, clerked awhile for their cousin James Alexander. 

This old Captain Matchett was one of a company of 
emigrants from the north of Ireland, who arrived in 


Charleston in IS 20. I remember how niy father met 
them on the wharf, and took them all to his house until 
wagons could be procured to haul them and their belong- 
ings up to Fairfield county, where they settled on the 
lands of Kobert Ellison and William Adger. Captain 
Matchett frequently speaks of my father's hospitality and 
kind assistance. 

Upon his testimony I think it is very clear and certain 
that my mother's ancestry, on her mother's side, came 
directly from the north of Ireland to this country as early 
at least as 1732. 

I return now to what followed my father's engagement 
to Miss Sarah Ellison. Having completed this important 
affair on which so much of the happiness of his life was 
to depend he now prepares to return to Charleston, and 
Mr. Samuel Bones, a kinsman of my grandmother's, was 
to accompany him. They were to begin business together 
as cotton buyers. There was only a weekly stage from 
Columbia to Charleston, and rather than wait they agreed 
to foot it. But the country being flat there were gather- 
ings of water on the road sometimes a foot deep. Mr. 
Bones had recently arrived from Ireland, and the voyage 
as usual in those days being very long, his blood had be- 
come disordered, and he hesitated about walking through 
the water. My father said, "Come along. Bones, and you 
shall ride on my back." He was a great big Irishman 
over six feet high, and actually did ride on his friend's 
shoulders whenever they had to pass through water. They 
began business at the corner of King street and Burns' 
Lane (Blackbird Alley), and many were the bags of cot- 
ton they bought that year, when that trade was in its early 
infancy, and many a night after a hard day's work did 
the_\ sleep on a cotton bag for a bed. They began business 
under the name of Bones & Adger, and people used to 
laugh and call them Bones and Anhles. 

Subsequently when he had left his cotton buying busi- 
ness in Charleston to visit his fiancee, and was returning 
he left Columbia on a spirited young black horse. Sev- 
eial merchants of that city requested him to take charge 
of packages of bank bills to be conveyed to Charleston. 
Az that early day they had not the present facilities for 


transmitting money. He set out on horseback alone with 
his saddle-bags somewhat stufied with these packages. 
His horse took fright at a dead alligator lying in one of 
the water ponds on the road, mentioned above, and he was 
thrown over the animal's head into the water, the horse 
taking to his heels in the woods. My father had not long 
passed a house on the roadside. He went back and the 
^^•oman of the house dried his clothes by her fire, he mean- 
while covered up in bed, and her husband started in search 
o^' the horse. But he had not been long gone when it first 
came to my father's mind that he had those packages of 
money in his saddle-bags, and they open — not locked. 
The idea of their possible loss in those woods, or being 
st(tlen, and he so great a stranger in Charleston, threw him 
into a cold sweat. Every now and then he would sing out 
to the woman, "Is your husband coming f and she would 
look down the road, and answer, "No." At last her an- 
s^^er was, "Yes, he is coming, but he has not got the 
horse." He came bringing the saddle-bags, saddle and 
bridle. He had searched the woods in vain for a long 
time, and at last found that the horse, almost as soon as 
he entered the forest, had fallen and broken his neck. My 
father said that he rammed his hand down into the saddle- 
bags, and finding all right there, was inexpressibly re- 
lieved and felt little concern about the dead horse. 

Resuming his cotton buying, he bethought him of a 
paper given to him by his old friend and quasi father, Mr. 
John Bailey, of New York, when he left 'New York in 
charge of the supercargo, and the ship of iron ware. It 
was a note for $600, due to Mr. Bailey by some person in 
Charleston, which had been long overdue, and, as was sup- 
posed, would never be collected. Mr. Bailey said, "Here^ 
Jemmy, take this and collect it for yourself if you can." 
He took the note to a young lawyer of the name of Cheves, 
who had associated with himself a Mr. Peace, and was 
just commencing practice at the Charleston bar. He said 
to Mr. Cheves, "If you collect this note, you shall have 
the half of it for your trouble." Calling after some time 
to inquire about the note, ]\[r. Peace, who was in the front 
apartment of the oftice, was proceeding to count out and 
hand over to him the $000. He said to Mr. Peace, "But 


my agreement with Mr. Clieves was that I was only to re- 
ceive the half of this money." The senior partner, who 
sat writing in the back room with the door open, over- 
heard what was said. He called out, "Mr. Peace, take 
$20 from Mr. Adger, which is our legitimate fee, and pay 
him the rest of the money." Such was the beginning of 
the honorable and splendid career of Langdon Cheves, a 
nptive-born citizen of South Carolina. ISTeither party to 
this transaction had the idea that a grandson of the one 
should marry a granddaughter of the other. 

My parents were married in 1806, and moved to 
CJiarleston, living first in Boundary street, in a wooden 
house next to the present Zion church building, put up for 
Dr. Girardeau's congregation. Thence, after awhile, my 
father moved to Xo. 2 of the Brownlee Row in King 
street. There he began to carry on the hardware business 
under the firm name of James Adger & Co. In 1818 he 
foimed the acquaintance of Mr. Alexander Brown, of 
Baltimore, and his son James Bro"svn, of Xew York ; he 
w^ent on to England, where he met Mr. William Brown, 
and proceeded to the north of Ireland to visit his old 
home. This visit resulted in his becoming connected in 
hiisiness with Alexander BroA^Ti & Sons, of Baltimore; 
John A. Brown & Co., of Philadelphia ; Bro^m Brothers 
& Co., of ]^ew York, and William and James Bro^\^l & 
Co., of Liverpool. He was a great favorite with old Mr. 
Alexander BroAvn, and he became the agent of the Bro^vTis 
in Charleston. They had but lately commenced their 
magnificent commercial career, and his connection with 
them was the real foundation of his own fortune. He at 
once committed his hardware business in King street to 
the hands of some subordinates, and established himself 
on Magwood wharf and commenced the commission and 
factorage business, also buying and selling exchange for 
the Bro^ATis. After some years he paid a second visit to 
the north of Ireland, and brought l)ack with him Mr. 
James Black, who had connections with the linen manu- 
factories of that region. The firm then became Adger & 
Black ; but after a very few years my father preferred to 
have a dissolution of the concern. He then lu'ought his 
hardware business down to East Bay, thus uniting his 


forces. Subseqnentlj he purchased the wharves, which 
stijl bear his name. About the year 1838 his health failed 
tor some years, the effect of a severe cold taken when with 
me in Ireland. But he again recovered his vigor. As 
previously to this date he had had much to do with the 
origination of the old South Carolina Railroad, the first 
rf jlroad of any length ever attempted in this country or 
the world, so after this period he set on foot the line of 
steamers between Charleston and ISTew York which did so 
much in building up the commerce of our city. About the 
year 1847 he began to execute his plan of placing a stone 
front to both his south and north wharf. Many practical 
men said it would certainly be a failure, those immense 
granite rocks would have no suitable foundation in the old 
palmetto piles down in the mud and the whole structure 
would have to fall in the water before it was even finished. 
But there it stands to this day a monument to his sound 
judgment and practical wisdom, as well as to his courage 
and energv. 

The married life of my parents extended a little beyond 
their golden wedding day. Their's was indeed a golden 
marriage. I never saw or heard of anything, but love and 
kindness betwixt them during all the fifty-two years of 
their union. My mother's health gave way some two 
years before her death, and for a large portion of the time 
she was an invalid. A devoted wife, a tender, loving and 
judicious mother, and a humble, consistent Christian, 
she passed peaceably away on the 18th of October, 1856, 
at Sullivan's Island. A large assemblage met us at the 
Second Presbyterian church, and, Dr. Girardeau pre- 
siding, we laid her away to rest in the family burying 
ground of that cemetery. 

This event did not, so far as I know, visibly affect' the 
health of our father. His grief was not manifested in 
tears or words. That was not the style of the man. But 
it was evident to us all how deeply he felt the solitude into 
which he had passed. He was accustomed for many years 
to spend his summers at Kinderhook, at Saratoga, whose 
waters always benefited him, and other summer retreats 
at the Xorth. In September, 1858, when he was in his 
eighty-second year, he was at IvTew York with his two 


voimger daughters and his son James, besides two of 
his granddaughters and Kev. Dr. Girardeau. He took a 
cold from sitting at a broken window behind him in .a 
parlor of the St. Nicholas Hotel. Pneumonia ensued, 
and after a short time he ended there, on the 24th inst., 
his long, active, useful and honorable life. I hastened on, 
but was too late to see him alive. Mr. James Brown had 
the remains moved to his house, and there, in his parlor, 
some other friends joining us, w^e had religious services, 
the Kev. Dr. Leland, of Columbia, S. C, officiating, and 
then all that was mortal of our father was deposited in 
the family vault of Mr. Brown until cold weather, when 
it could be properly removed to Charleston. This duty 
was performed by my brother Robert. On the 27th of 
November a large assembly of the citizens of Charleston 
Avere gathered in the Second church at his funeral, when 
Dr. Girardeau officiated again, and then his remains were 
deposited in his family burial ground of that church. 
There stands the double monumental stone in memory 
of both my father and mother, she having preceded hira 
by two years. It bears the following inscription, pre- 
pared by their son James : 

On the face towards the East: 

" The just man I "Pure, peaceable, gentle, 

walketh in his integrity." I and easy to be entreated." 


Died 24th September, 1858, 

Aged 81 Yeaes. 


His Wife, Died IBth October. 18J56, 

Aged 73 Yeaes. 

"Thus saith the Lord, 
Refrain thy voir-e from weeping and thine eyes from tears, 
for . . . They shall come again from the land of the enemy." 

On the face towards the ^Vest: 

" And Sarah died. I "Then Abraham 

And Abraham came gave up the ghost and 

to mourn for Sarah died in a good old age, an 

and to weep for her." | old man, and full of years." 

Companions of a half centfrt, 

separated by two brief years, 

now reunited. 

"Neither can they die any more." 


My fatlier's was a strong character. He had the kind 
of will always necessary to constitute such a character, 
to which was added a sound, clear judgment and great 
energy. He was careful in deliberating, but prompt and 
bold to act, and very determined in persevering. His in- 
tegrity was proverbial. He was more reserved than dem- 
onstrative of his feelings, so that his heart and hand were 
always more open than his lips. In my early life I did 
not understand my father, but in this my eighty-sixth 
year, reading over his old letters, some of them seventy 
years old, which I have long and carefully preserved, I 
have been inexpressibly affected, as I have seen and felt 
the tender love for me which breathes through them all. 
Well do I know now how warm his affections were, and 
yet so too were his antipathies. A man of actions and not 
words. He was rather irritable under small annoyances, 
but calm, cool and self-possessed in times of trial and 
danger. I waked him up one morning at three o'clock, 
rode down with him and walked with him round and 
again round a cotton conflagration which consumed the 
contents of an immense brick building belonging to him. 
For the lack of full insurance on the cotton his loss was 
$50,000. He spoke hardly a word, just calmly looking 
on, but when the roof at last fell in, and he saw the full 
extent of the loss, daylight had come, and he quietly said 
to his sons, all being present, "Come, boys, let's go home 
to breakfast ! We must come do\\'n and go to work build- 
ing again." And that was all he said, but the rebuilding 
was begun at once. 

From his very birth the child of earnest and constant 
prayers, he was trained to obedience and all good conduct ; 
in his youth and early manhood he was always free from 
the "small vices" which a hundred years ago were held 
more odious than now in the close of this boastful nine- 
teenth century. Accordingly he always lived a strictly 
sober, moral and upright life. But in the year 1832 he 
was led to make a public profession of his humble faith 
in the redemption of Christ for sinners, and thus he be- 
came a communicating member of the Second Presbyte- 
rian church. I remember that he said to the session that 
he hoped he would not bring any dishonor on the church. 


He never was ^'profuse in religious discourse." He sel- 
dom alluded to his own spiritual experiences. His re- 
ligion ''appeared in its fruits, in gentleness, humility and 
benevolence, in a steady conscientious performance of 
every duty, and a careful abstinence from the appearance 
of evil." "^ 

In his last moments, as Dr. Girardeau testifies, being 
asked of his willingness to die, and of his trust only in 
Christ, he promptly and decidedly replied that he was 
"willing to submit to the will of God in his removal from 
earth," and that his faith was "in the atoning blood and 
merits of the Lord Jesus Christ." This, says Dr. Girar- 
deau, was "literally his dying testimony. It was almost 
his last audible and rational expression of his feelings." 


My Childhood and Early Youth, 


I WAS born the 13th of December, 1810, being the 
third child of my parents. I had two sisters okler 
than myself, namely, Margaret Milligan and Susan Dun- 
lap. Younger than myself I had three brothers, James, 
Robert and AYilliam, then two sisters, Sarah Elizabeth 
and Jane Anne, and then another brother, Joseph Ellison. 
At this date I have survived them all except my sister, 
Jane Anne, and my brother, Joseph Ellison. 

My very earliest recollection is of a feat which I per- 
formed one Sunday at church. I cannot have been over 
three years old. I remember distinctly the pew then 
occupied by my father with his little famih^ It is on the 
left-hand of the pulpit of the Second Presbyterian church 
in the extreme corner on the side next Charlotte street. 
The "small boy" had a little bench upon the seat of the 
pew, so that he could see and be seen. And his provident 
mother, to help him through the service, had furnished 
him a biscuit. Tie devoured as much of it as he wanted, 
and then amused himself with putting a piece of it up his 
nose, and when he could not readily get it out again, 
raised a loud yell from his little perch which interrupted 
Dr. Elinn, and disturbed the congregation so that he had 
to be carried out bawling. All that week he was told by 
everybody that he would have to go up the following Sun- 
day morning to the pulpit and ask Dr. Flinn's pardon. 
Sunday came and they all had forgotten what they said, 
but "small boy" remembered it, and intended fully to do 
it. In those days Presbyterian parents and children went 
to and came from church always in a family group. So, 
no sooner had this family entered the house than the little 
three-year-old, separating himself from the rest, was seen 
to be running up the big cross aisle and rapidly making 
tracks for the pulpit steps. They caught him just before 
he readied them. 


In 1812 tlio United States declared war with Great 
Britain. On the 8th January, 1815, when I was just 
turned of four years, they gained the victory at New 
Orleans with troops under General Andrew Jackson, the 
battle being actually fought after peace had been agreed 
on, but had not yet been published. But it had been the 
expectation that Charleston, and not jSJ'ew Orleans, was 
to be attacked, and so during the winter of the year 1814 
the citizens of my native city were at work every day 
throwing up a line of defence against an attack by land. 
These "lines" stretched across from the Cooper to the 
Ashley river, and were laid out by skillful military en- 
gineers, were as high as a man's shoulders, and some ten 
feet broad on the top and fifteen at the bottom — deep 
ditches in front and lines of sharpened posts set in these 
ditches all along, so as to hinder the near approach of the 

My father was first lieutenant of the Independent 
Greens, a company of young Irishmen. It was the custom 
for wives, mothers, and children to walk up in the after- 
noons and see the husbands and fathers at work. A friend 
of my father, who was not of the military, took his family 
and ours up there one afternoon. He had a little son of 
my age, and got a couple of little wooden spades made for 
him and me. So, on reaching the lines where my father 
and his men were at work, these two little chaps, not the a 
four years old, were permitted to fill one hand-barrow with 
the dirt that was to be carried on a plank over a deep 
ditch to the opposite embankment. If the two juveniles 
were not very proud of this patriotic performance, no 
doubt both their mothers were. They filled the barrow, 
but did not venture across the plank. 

I have a very distinct recollection of the rejoicings in 
Charleston over the news of peace. Butler, a young Afri- 
can slave of my father's, carried a hand bell and rang it 
all through the streets, as many others like him were sent 
to do, and all the church bells rang also. I remember, too, 
the illumination of the town that night, with candles ; no 
electric lights then, and no gas lights either, not even 
lamps filled with oil, only candles, but it was held to be a 
o-rand affair. 


The first school I ever went to was kept not far from 
our home bv old Mrs. Mood in Meeting street, just below 
Boundary, on the left-hand as you go do^\'ll town. It was 
right opposite to the second one of the three-story brick 
biiildings which still stand on the west corner of Meeting 
and Boundary. Those buildings had basement windows 
on the street, dead-windows, never opened then, and I 
suppose never since. Their shutters set back, and so there 
was made a little shelf about as high from the ground as 
would accommodate a youngster of not more than four 
years. That shelf is associated with my very earliest 
recollections. At our school intermission we children 
used to run across the street and make that recessed win- 
dow the shelf for our luncheons or playthings. 

At Mrs. ]\[ood's school, I remember what admiration 
I felt for a big boy named Owen Fitzsimons, and for an- 
other named John Stoney. Mrs. Mood taught me to speak 
that famous speech — 

" You'd scarce expect one of my age 

To speak in public on the stage, 

And if I chance to fall below 

Demosthenes or Cicero, 

Don't view me with a critic's eye, 

But pass my imperfections by. 

Great streams from little fountains flow, 

Tall oaks from little acorns grow. 

And all great, learned men like me 

Once learned their little A, B, C." 

This is a classic morceau. It certainly runs far back 
perhaps even into the seventeenth century. Fearing that 
this proud nineteenth century, which has produced so 
many beautiful things, has come to despise and forget 
these exquisite lines, I think it my duty in this history of 
my times to record them here, and pass them into the 
twentieth century. There also, at a very early age, T 
learned to read, and I well remember my grandmother's 
praises when, at four years of age, I stood at her knee and 
read the second chapter of Matthew, beginning, "'Now, 
when Jesus was born," etc. Having naturally what was 
then styled a "cow-lick," which inclined my hair back- 
wards, she used to tell me that I looked like Dr. Flinn, 
who brushed his hair back, and that I also was to be a 


The famous speech above referred to was once delivered 
about this period on an occasion when the orator covered 
himself with glory. We lived then in Brownlee's Row, 
the second house from the corner of Hudson in King 
street, where I first saw^ the light. Mr. Samuel Kobert- 
son's family and ours were very intimate. They lived on 
the opposite side of King street at the south corner of 
Vanderhorst, Avhere the house still stands. My sisters and 
I were allowed to take tea there one evening with express 
directions from my mother to return at eight o'clock. The 
four-year-old was called on by Mr. Robertson to make 
his celebrated speecli. In the middle of the speech the 
big clock in the room began to strike. The boy stop- 
ped in the middle of his speech, and gravely counted one, 
two, three, etc., and then he shouted, "There, mother said 
we must come home at eight o'clock ; let us go !" The 
oration was not finished. 

The youthful orator distinguished himself greatly on 
another occasion about the same period. We had occa- 
sional visits from a Philadelphia friend of my father's, a 
north of Ireland gentleman, of some degree of kinship 
with him, who was very fond of children, and whom we 
all called ''Uncle Harper." lie had gone out one evening 
to walk, and came home to tea with his pockets full of 
apples. One was given to John, who enjoyed greatly the 
eating of it, and then modestly expressed himself thus, 
''Uncle Harper, if you were to say to me, 'John, will you 
have another apple,' I would say, 'Yes, sir, if you 
please.' " The rest of the ceremony, of course, wrs car- 
ried out. 

One of the happiest days of my early childhood was 
when I was allowed to accompany our Maum Sue to the 
Charleston market. She was a faithful slave given to 
my mother l)y her father, and nursed all of us children, 
and also did the cooking. ^lany a basket of chips did we 
little boys gather for her to bake biscuits in the Dutch 
oven, and many a biscuit, and many a "fadgr" * did we 
get before supper or breakfast for this heli). The day 

* The "fadge" is an Irish biscuit made of flour with boiling water 
poured on it and then baked. Tlie boiling water acts like the best 
yeast powder. 


that I went with her to the market was a red-letter day 
in my young life. My next brother, James, was not to 
go — he was ''too little," only abont four, but I was his 
big brother, say, six years old. I could go, but he could 
not. Maum Sue instructed me to run round the corner 
of Hudson, and wait there, till she would come to me, 
after getting away from him. So off we started, she with 
her market-basket and money, and I with eyes and ears 
wide open to see and hear all the wondrous things. 

Coming back from market that day Maum Sue took me 
with her when she went to see Uncle Aberdeen, who had 
his cooper's shop on Boundary street, between Meeting 
and King, where ]\larion Square now stands. That street 
was so called because then the city extended no further 
up ; now it is Calhoun street. x\ll above that street was 
"The jSTeck," and not under municipal authority. Uncle 
Aberdeen was very old, and very black, but he was very 
good. We children all looked on him as a saint already. 
To go and see old Uncle Aberdeen, capped the climax of 
my joy that day. 

My brother James must have begun to accompany my 
older sisters and me to Mrs. Mood's school, when not more 
than four or five years old. He was always a bold and en- 
terprising fellow. One day, as we were all going home, 
he rushed from us out into the middle of Boundary street 
for something that he saw, and fell, and a dray, loaded 
with a hogshead of tobacco, passed over him. We were 
horrified. Old Uncle Aberdeen lifted and carried him 
home. His only hurt, as it proved, was that a piece of the 
skin of his skull as big as a silver dollar was scraped off 
by the tail skid of the dray. There was great alarm at 
home, when old Uncle Aberdeen brought in the wounded 
boy. Old Dr. Frontis, our family physician, was sent 
for, and James, of course, was to be a prisoner for several 
days. But seeing a dray, with cotton on it, enter the yard, 
he rushed down stairs, and as the dray went out empty, 
he was seen mounted on the tails, or skirts, of the dray, 
and shouting as he rode out. 

There was good family government at the home of our 
childhood, notwithstanding this unruly performance of 
venturesome James. It was my mother Avho held the 


reins, for I believe my father never laid his finger on one 
of his children. My gentle and loving mother was as 
firm as she Avas kind. She had a little instrnment that 
greatly assisted her. It was made of a piece of stout 
leather, about fifteen inches long and three wide. It was 
cut into nine strips, or tails, about one foot long, leaving 
three inches as a handle, with a hole in the handle to 
hang it up by, and it was always hung up on the right- 
hand jamb of our dining-room chimney. But we never 
called it a *'cat-o'-ninc-tails." It had the far more vener- 
able name which it brought from the old country, namely, 
the "tawse." Whenever it was necessary, this instrument 
was put in operation. But that was very seldom, for my 
good mother's word was a law to us all. Only one occa- 
sion do I recall wdien she ever appealed to my father's 
authority. My intrepid brother James was given a piece 
of dry bread to eat when hungry. He demanded some- 
thing better, and, indeed, he threw the bread on the floor. 
When told to pick it up, he refused. Just then my father 
came in, and my mother pointed him to James, and the 
despised piece of bread. All he had to sav was, ''Pick up 
that bread, sir, and eat it this minute." Both actions were 
quickly and duly performed. 

The only experiences I ever had of the "tawse" from 
my mother were two. One was tolerably severe. But it 
was unjust. My mother did not correctly apprehend the 
case. The other was for a little fight my brother James 
and 1 had, on a Sunday afternoon, in the street, outside 
our front gate. We had no business to be outside of the 
gate, much less to be fighting there on a Sunday. We did 
not get any more than we deserved. My mother's rule was 
for her boys to play in our large yard at home, and we 
were never in the street, day or night, except when re- 
quired to go or come. 

At school I never got a whipping. Once Dr. Jones, of 
whom I was a pupil when ten years old at his school in St. 
Philips street, smote me on my right palm with his pad- 
dle, and once, when I was a year or two older, the Rev. 
Edward Palmer, the father of Dr. Ben Palmer, of IsTew 
Orleans, caught me doing my writing exercise, and not 
holding my pen in the prescribed way. Walking behind 


ITS as we wrote, he saw my disobedience, aud cracked me 
on the sknll a few times with the handle of his penknife. 
Lc'ng years after this I made him laugh when we became 
co-presbyters, by twitting- him about his penknife on my 
skull. The paddling I got from Dr. Jones came about on 
this wise. Mr. Samuel Robertson's son, a year or two older 
than I, and my particular friend, finding my copy-book 
on my desk and my writing lesson all done, amused him- 
self in my absence with a little piece of playful mischief. 
Every line of my copy closed with the letter "n," and 
John B. Robertson twisted round the end of each, after 
the manner of a pug dog's tail. Dr. Jones asked me, 
''Why did you do that, sir ?" I said nothing, and he gave 
me the paddle. 

On the arrival from Ireland of a young kinsman of my 
grandmother's, who bore her maiden name of Crawford, 
I was removed from Dr. Jones' school, and Hamilton 
Crawford and I came under the instruction of the Rev. 
Mr. Palmer in Beaufain street at the head of Archdale. 
This did not last long, for Mr. Palmer, who was not then 
a minister, left Charleston to go somewhere at the !N^orth 
to study theology, and was after that ordained. Hamil- 
ton was my senior by a number of years, and he com- 
menced then his business career, while I went to the clas- 
sical school of Prof. William E. Bailey in Wentworth 
street, east of Meeting. My brother James went with me 
to the same school, but was in the English department of 
it under Mr. Courtenay, father of William A. Courtenay, 
for several terms mayor of Charleston. 

I began the study of I^atin with an excellent teacher. 
Prof. William E. Bailey, and, after some length of time, 
of Greek also. I was fond of reading, and in these days 
I made the acquaintance of Rohinson Crusoe s Life and 
Adventures,, in the large and full form in which it then 
appeared. Th^t book made a profound impression on me, 
and I think I owe much to the immortal Defoe. I was 
also greatly charmed by old John Bunyan — 

" That ingenious dreamer in whose well-told tale 
Sweet Fiction and sweet Truth alike prevail." 

I think I must have got acquainted in those days with 
Cowper's Task. And I know that Milton's Paradise Lost 


attracted me strongly. There was another book given me 
bv some friend, altogether forgotten by the yoimg people 
of this day, to which I owe very much, for it made read- 
ing delightful to me, and through it I began to know 
something about the great city of London and its various 
classes of society. Its title was. The Hermit in London. 
My recollections of it are so pleasant that I would like to 
sit down now, in my eighty-sixth year, and hear it all 
read from beginning to end. But among the books I 
loved in my early boyhood I should not forget to mention 
Miss Edgeworth's Parents Assistant, whose beautiful 
stories in that volume had but one fault. She was a Uni- 
tarian, and, if I do not greatly mistake, there is not the 
slightest reference to the Almighty, or to any other re- 
ligious truth, in the whole book. I was at that time a 
thoughtless boy, and, of course, the discovery of this 
feature was made in after years. One other part of my 
early education I must now mention. I went every Sun- 
day to Sunday-school in the galleries of the old Second 
Presbyterian church, where we learned Old Testament 
history, as well as that of the ISTew Testament, out of the 
simple question and answer books then published by the 
American Sunday-school Union. The instruction was 
directly from the Bible, for we were naturally led to read 
and study the chapter which constituted the subject of 
the lesson. Comparisons are invidious. It will not do 
for the old man to say that he prefers the simpler and 
director method of those early days to the more preten- 
tious ones of the present time, but, nevertheless, the old 
man has his own opinion. 

I came, in these boyhood days, somewhat under the in- 
fluence of an Irish scholar, who strangely enough was 
passenger in a ship coming directly to Charleston about 
the year 1820, with a company of north of Ireland farm- 
ers, emigrating to South Carolina, to whose coming I 
referred iu Cliapter I. My father and his brotlier in 
Fairfield District, were assisting them to leave the old 

Among them, but not of them, was Hobert F. Macully. 
He was no Presbyterian, luit of the English Church. 
Evidentlv his kind and affable behavior had endeared him 


to the other passengers, who, of course, introduced him to 
my father. Being a solitary, unkno^vn stranger in 
Charleston, he was invited to my father's house, and he 
came and charmed us all, grandmother, parents and chil- 
dren. He was some twenty-two or three years old, tall 
and handsome, of refined and most pleasing manners. He 
was not only a gentleman, but he was a scholar, knew 
Latin and Greek, French, Italian and Spanish, and had 
quite a library of elegant volumes in these various lan- 
guages. I think he must have been intended for an Eng- 
lish clergyman, for when once asked by my oldest sister 
what made him come to America, his answer was, "Be- 
cause I preferred my trans-Atlantic liberty to a curacy 
and ninety pounds a year." He soon became a professor 
in the Charleston College, and a student of law with 
Judge Mitchell King. Being anxious to perfect himself 
in speaking Spanish, he went from my father's house to 
board with a Spanish family, where he soon became a 
very great favorite, but one night, supping with them 
on one of their Spanish dishes, fried plantains (which is 
a kind of coarse banana), they proved fatal to him. How 
well do I remember going with my mother to see our dear 
young friend on his dying bed, and how poor, old Seiiora 
Ravina did weep over him. My father had to administer 
on his little estate, and send home the proceeds to his 
mother. At the public auction he bid in his writing desk 
and a number of his beautifully bound French and Italian 
books, all of which he gave to me. Most of these books 
were burned with my library by Sherman in Columbia. 
A few of them I still possess, with his autograph on the 
fiy-leaf, thus, "Jl. Macully," and sometimes, "Robert F. 
Macully, IsTewtonardes, Ireland." 

The last school I attended in Charleston was kept by 
the Rev. George Reid, a Presbyterian minister in Meet- 
ing street, a little above Market. This was during the 
first half of the year 1824. But subsequently all that part 
of the city was destroyed by fire, and rebuilt as now. 
Among my companions in ]Mr. Reid's school were Dr. 
Thomas L. Ogier, of Charleston, and the Rev. Dr. Ed- 
ward T. Buist, of Greenville. Edward T. Buist was some 
years my senior, and we were intimate friends at Mr. 


Eeid's school. This intimacy was renewed at Princeton 
Seniinarv, and it continued through all his life. He had 
a vigorous intellect, early became a devoted Christian, 
and was, through a long life, an eminent and very useful 
Christian minister. 

Thomas L. Ogier was about my age. At Mr. Reid's 
school he did not distinguish himself as a student, and I 
lost sight of him, when I left that school, went to Kinder- 
hook Academy, and passed through Union College and 
Princeton Seminary. The very nex.t time I laid eyes on 
Ogier, just returned from his course of studies at Paris, 
was in the Medical College building of Charleston, whea, 
surrounded by a number of eminent surgeons, I saw him 
take hold of a semi-circular surgical knife and passing it 
under the thigh of a negro, lying on a table before him, 
at one sweep, cut through all the flesh of it down to the 
very bone. 'Next I saw him tie up the arteries and com- 
plete the successful amputation. He still lives at this 
date, November, 1896, after a long and most useful life^ 
respected and honored by all Charleston. 

While I was going to Mr. Reid's school, I conceived a 
desire to learn French, and so, wutli my father's consent, 
in addition to my school hours, I took lessons three times 
a week from Seiior Ravina, in whose family my admired 
friend, R. Macully, had boarded until his lamented death. 
From him I learned enough to read any ordinary French 

Before I close this chapter let me go back and give some 
account of occurrences in Charleston during the year 
1822, which very greatly excited our good city, and fixed 
impressions on the public mind, which lasted many long 
years in full vigor. On the 30th of May a faithfiil slave 
communicated to his master that an attempt at insurrec- 
tion by the negroes against the whites was to be made very 
shortly. He had learned this from one of the conspira- 
tors, who wished him to join in the attempt. That man 
was immediately arrested, and by degrees all the leaders 
came to be known, taken up and imprisoned. A few of 
them proved to be men of remarkable energy and daring. 
But even they showed themselves to be very ignorant and 
utterly incompetent to plan or carry out such a movement. 


The most remarkable of these few 'men was Demnark 
Vesey. During the Revolutionary war, in the year 1781, 
he was brought as a slave boy, aged about fourteen, from 
Africa to San Domingo by one Captain Vesey, who com- 
manded a ship in the slave trade. On the voyage the cap- 
tain and his officers were struck with his beauty, alertness 
and intelligence. They made a pet of him by taking him 
into the cabin, changing his apparel, and calling him, by 
way of distinction, Telemaque, which api^ellation was, by 
gradual corruption among the negroes, changed to Den- 
marlv, or sometimes Telmak. Subsequently he was 
brought to Charleston by Capt. Vesey, who retained pos- 
session of the boy, and he was his most faithful slave for 
twenty years. In 1800 Denmark drew a prize of $1,500 
in a lottery in Charleston called ''East Bay Street Lot- 
tery," and he then purchased his freedom from the cap- 
tain at the low price of $600. From that time he con- 
tinued very successfully, for about twenty-one years, his 
trade as carpenter in Charleston. Among his color, he 
had unbounded influence. His temper was impetuous 
and domineering in the extreme. All his passions were 
ungovernable and savage, and to his numerous wives and 
children he displayed the haughty and capricious cruelty 
of an Eastern Bashaw. This man, it was abundantly 
proved, Avas the sole originator of the plot of insurrection. 
He had revolved the subject in his mind for many years, 
and had succeeded in uniting with himself a considerable 
number of others. It was at his house that the leaders 
continually assembled to take counsel together. And 
there it was, he, who encouraged the timid, removed the 
scrujjles of the religious by gross prostitution of the sacred 
oracles, and inflamed the resolute by all the savage fasci- 
nations of blood and booty. 

The 16th of June, at midnight, was the time appointed 
for the insurrection. Under the several leaders, different 
companies were to attack the arsenal in the northwestern 
part of the city, and another depot where arms were kept 
in King street, besides other places of a like kind. Dif- 
ferent parts of the city were to be simultaneously set on 
fire, and when the fire bells were rung and white men 
rushed out from their houses, they were all to be put to 


death, and then the women and children were to be dis- 
posed of, and not one white skin was to be left alive. 
These poor creatures seemed to imagine that this was all 
to be done with the greatest ease, and without any white 
resistance. Such was the ignorance even of the leaders 
and of Denmark Vesey himself. They counted on all 
their race in Charleston rising at once to get free, forget- 
ting how many of them were too faithful to their masters 
and how few of them had any arms or capacity for such a 
contest. They counted on whole armies coming in from 
the immediate neighborhood of Charleston, as if any such 
widespread cooperation were a thing conceivable. They 
wore even made to believe that as soon as they began to 
fight with the whites of Charleston, the English, against 
wliom there had been war a few years before, would come 
to their assistance. They Avere even made to believe that 
the San Domingo people, who had lately made a suc- 
cessful insurrection, would "march an army" to aid their 
struggle; and Vesey had proclaimed amongst them that 
as soon as they had robbed the banks of their specie and 
the King street shops of their goods and got everything on 
board ship, they should then sail away to San Domingo 
to enjoy their treasure. 

In conformity with the act of Assembly passed in 1740, 
when South Carolina was a province under the British 
government, a court was immediately convened, consist- 
ing of "Magistrates and Freeholders," to try all the ac- 
cused. The penalty prescribed by this act for insurrec- 
tion was death. There was a careful consideration of the 
evidence in every case. The whole number of the accused 
was one hundred and thirty-one, of whom thirty-five were 
hanged, thirty-seven banished beyond the limits of the 
United States, the rest were discharged as not being found 
guilty. On the 2d of July Denmark Vesey and five 
others of the ring-leaders suffered death by hanging. Im- 
mense crowds of whites and blacks were present at the 
scene. On the 26tli day of July I saw distinctly, from 
the third-story window of my father's house in upper King 
street, not far from the scene, a long gallows erected on 
"The Lines," and on it twenty-two negroes hanged at one 
time. I might sav that the whole citv turned out on this 


occasion, and this was certainly a sight calculated to strike 
terror into the heart of every slave. Among these twenty- 
tAvo, there was one of the leaders, whose name was Jack 
Pritchard. Being a guUah negro, he was commonly 
known as Gnllah J ack. In Africa he had been known as 
of the family of conjurers inheriting by descent the 
powers belonging to his forefathers. With all these he 
was still accredited after being brought to Charleston as 
a slave. It was his claim no white man could arrest him, 
nor was he liable to death at any white man's hand. 

All these facts which I have here stated I get from an 
old pamphlet, in my possession, published at the time, 
which appears to be, in some sense, an official account of 
the whole matter. 

I must quote a paragraph from its pages, as I draw 
to a close. In speaking of the negroes, who were led to 
engage in this attempt, the writer says, "It was distinctly 
proved that with scarcely an exception they had no in- 
dividual hardship to complain of, and were amongst the 
most humanely treated negroes in our city. The facilities 
fc>r combining and confederating in such a scheme were 
amply afforded by the extreme indulgence and kindness, 
which characterizes the domestic treatment of our slaves. 
Many slave-owners among us, not satisfied with minister- 
ing to the wants of their domestics by all the comforts of 
abundant food and excellent clothing, with a misguided 
benevolence have not only permitted their instruction, but 
lent to such efforts their approbation and applause. Re- 
ligious fanaticism has not been without its effect on this 
project, and, as auxiliary to these sentiments, the seces- 
sion of a large body of blacks from the white Methodist 
church, with feelings of irritation and disappointment, 
formed a hot-bed, in which the germ might w^ell be ex- 
pected to spring into life and vigor. Among the con- 
spirators a majority of them belonged to the 'African 
Church' and among those executed were several who had 
been class-leaders. It is, however, due to the late head of 
their church (for since the late events the association has 
been voluntarily dissolved) and their deacons to say that, 
after the most diligent search and scouting, no evidence 
entitled to belief has been discovered against them. .A. 


hearsay rumor in relation to Morris Brown was traced far 
enough to end in its complete falsification." 

Upon these statements by the very intelligent author of 
this pamphlet I have some observations to make. 

I. In the first place, he is quite right speaking of the 
kindness with which our slaves in Charleston, and I may 
say, throughout South Carolina, were generally treated. 
I feel perfectly sure that the duties of the relation of 
master and slave amongst us were just as well performed 
as those of human relations in general. To say no more, 
it was for the interest of the master to treat his slaves 
well. I have personally known a lady, not at all more 
humane or kind-hearted than women generally, to sit up 
alone night after night, nursing a valuable slave, sick with 
typhoid fever. It Avas to her interest to see that the 
proper medicine was given at the proper time, and that 
nothing should be wanting to preserve the life of her val- 
uable servant. Let outsiders say what they will, masters 
and slaves, throughout the whole South generally, occu- 
pied very kindly relations to one another. It is enough to . 
point to the good behavior of the Southern slaves in gen- 
eral during the late war, when the masters were nearly 
all at the front, they stood as the guardians and protectors 
of mistress and her children. 

II. But, in the second place, it was no "misguided be- 
nevolence" which led many slave-owners, not only to fur- 
nish their domestics with abundant food and comfortalde 
clothing, but also to permit their instruction in reading 
and writing by their own children and others, but even to 
give such efforts their well-merited applause. These in- 
telligent slaveholders held rightly that light is better than 
darkness — that the ignorance of the slave was more dan- 
gerous, as well as more unprofitable, than his intelligence. 
Who does not see that, if the bulk of his followers had been 
sufficiently educated to see how vain his attempt was, 
they never could have been persuaded to join in it ? 

III. In the third place, it appears to me the writer Vi 
raistaken as to there being much, if any, religious fanati- 
cism at the bottom of this attempted insurrection. Vesey, 
it seems, grossly perverted Scripture in removing the 
scruples of his religious followers ; but so also maiiv of 


the !N"ortliern abolitionsts, who would justly be very in- 
dignant at being called religions fanatics, grossly pervert 
the Scriptures to make them condemn slaveholding. 
Keither Denmark Vesey nor any of his most earnest fol- 
lowers seem to me to have been religious fanatics. They 
wanted their freedom, which is the natural desire of all 
men. He had his freedom. But he wanted also blood 
and booty, and that he might get oif with a load of specie 
and other valuables to San Domingo. I do not believe 
that that African church was the centre of the movement 
for insurrection. The writer distinctly acknowledges 
that Morris Browm and his deacons were proved to be in- 
nocent of any complicity in it. But the people of Charles- 
ton very naturally Avere under very great excitement, and 
it was almost inevitable that their suspicions should at- 
tach to that poor African church. As will appear in a 
subsequent chapter, I was to learn, at a future time, how 
sensitive jDublic sentiment in our good old city had been 
rendered by this attempt at insurrection respecting any 
separate organization of the negroes for religious instruc- 
tioji, even when it was to be given by white teachers alone. 
After a quarter of a century that poor, little African 
church, under good Morris Brown and his worthy coadju- 
tors, was to loom up, and be held forth as having been a 
most dangerous institution, in order to create prejudice 
against an honest attempt to give safe, sound and Scrip- 
tural instruction to our slaves by white teachers of native 
growth and every way competent qualifications. 


Academy and College Life. 


ON THE 11 til day of July, 1824, when I was thir- 
teen years seven months old, I was sent from 
Charleston with my younger brother, James, to Kinder- 
hook, to my father's two half-sisters, in order that we 
might attend the academy at that place. That academy 
had some considerable reputation. The idea then pre- 
vailed with many in our Southern country, and especially 
in Charleston, that schools at the North were far superior 
to ours. In addition to this idea my parents supposed 
that the change of climate would develop my constitution, 
for I was at that time rather small for my age. The view 
perhaps proved to be correct, but the Kinderhook Acad- 
emy was in no ways superior, if indeed it was equal, to 
the Charleston school from which I had been taken. The 
principal in his prime must have been a competent 
teacher, but in 1824 he was a worn-out old man, exceed- 
ingly near-sighted and very absent-minded, besides being 
an inveterate and voracious and very disgusting chewer 
of tobacco. While hearing a class in Latin or Greek, he 
would hold the text-book close up to his eyes and then 
stroll diagonally across the school-room to the door and 
then back again to his position, opening the door every 
time he got to it, that he might squirt the tobacco juice 
out of his mouth, while some of it would run down upon 
his beard and upon his shirt bosom. Such was the 
teacher ; as to the scholars, while a number of them were 
much older and a great deal bigger than the Southern 
boys, not one of them was more advanced than the older 
of the two in Latin or Greek. 

The most notable circumstance of my life at Kinder- 
hook Academy was that I tliere met a little Dutch boy, 
six years of age, who subsequently became one of tlie most 
distiuc'uished men of our time. He was in the second or 


English department of the Academy, and being my junior 
by about seven years, my personal acquaintance with him 
was slight. He was small for his age, but very handsome, 
and bore himself with such sturdy, but not saucy, inde- 
pendence as made me feel even then that he was a char- 
acter. About the year 1840, at the age of twenty-two, he 
went as a missionary to Beirut in Syria, and died there at 
the age of seventy-seven. 

From the moment of his first arrival he made it his sole 
business to acquire the Arabic language, and to this end 
quit the society of all English-speaking people at Beirut, 
and sought for and found a home for some years amongst 
the Arabs themselves. This showed the regular Dutch 
material of which he was made. The result was that one 
who knew him well says he became such a master of 
Arabic as had no peer, and that his death leaves such a 
vacancy amongst Arabic scholars as will probably never 
be filled. He was long recognized by European savanta 
as the greatest living Arabic scholar. When he went to 
Berlin, the great German professors, who had given years 
to the study of the Oriental languages, soon perceived that 
they were in the presence of a master before whom they 
felt they were mere tyros. How could it be otherwise ? 
This man for more than fifty years, was not only devoted 
to the reading of Arabic in books, but to the speaking of 
it and the hearing of it spoken. His vocation in part was 
to preach in Arabic, and that duty he performed with the 
greatest success. He spoke the language like an Arab; 
and on one occasion, in the year 1860, when war raged in 
the M.t. Lebanon country, between the Druses and the 
Maronites, he came near losing his life because those into 
whose hands he had fallen could not believe him to be an 
American, but insisted that he belonged to the enemy be- 
caiise he talked Arabic just like a native. 

But this man was not simply a master of Arabic, but a 
missionary physician, and so rendered very great service. 
He was also a chemist, mathematician, astronomer, and a 
profound Biblical scholar. He wi-ote several medical 
books in iVrabic, among them one on diseases of the eye, 
so prevalent in the East. But the greatest work of his 
pen was his translation of the Bible into Arabic, which 


was begun by the lamented Eli Smith, and to which this 
man gave twelve years of continuous labor, esteemed to be 
one of the best translations in any language. It places 
the Word of God within the reach of one hundred millions 
of Mohammedans. 

Thus my youthful acquaintance of six years of age, 
whom all the Dutch boys at Kinderhook called ''Little 
Kale," has, through divine grace, been enabled to act well 
his part in the history of the Christian Church of this 
nineteenth century, and has become known in Europe, 
America, and also Asia, as the Rev. Cornelius Van Alen 
Van Dyck, with a long string of titles at the end of his 
name. Certainly he was one to whom the w^ords apply, 
"Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from hence- 
forth ; yea, saith the Spirit, for they rest from their 
labors and their works do follow them." 

I passed one year at the Kinderhook Academy. My 
father came on to see his sisters and his sons in our second 
summer there. The assistant teacher of the Academy, 
who was a cultivated gentleman, when consulted with by 
my father, thought it was advisable that I should be trans- 
ferred to L^nion College, Schenectady, applying for ad- 
mission to the sophomore class. This was certainly 
enough to demonstrate that seventy-one years ago Union 
College was by no means what it may rightfully claim to 
be in 1896. Else how otherwise could a little boy of fif- 
teen and a half years of age have been received with so 
little preparation as mine was into its sophomore class ? 
Still it had for its president even then the eminent and 
eloquent Rev. Dr. Eliphalet ISTott ; and two of its profes- 
sors then wore Alonzo Potter, subsequently Bishop of 
Pennsylvania, and Eraneis Wayland, afterwards pres- 
ident of Brown University, Rhode Tslaiid, both very 
superior men. 

My brother James was very unwilling to remain aloue 
at Kinderhook Academy, and stubbornly averse to the 
idea of going any further in the study of the classics. 
His- father found it impossible to refuse his persistent 
request to be taken home and set to work in his counting 
house, so he was taken back to Charleston, and duly in- 
stalled on a high stool at a desk with a big ledger spread 


out before him full of old accounts, settled one or two 
scores of years previously. He was to go over these ac-. 
counts and see if he could find any mistakes. He went 
energetically to work, and persevered with it laboriously, 
having the idea in his mind that a very important task 
had been committed to him. By way of variety he had a 
marking pot and brush with which to mark hundreds of 
bales of cotton. His industrious and exact and careful 
attention to these official duties gave our father very great 
satisfaction, foreseeing clearly what a man of business 
that boy would become. But it was not very long before 
a desire for the college education he had once despised 
came back upon him with tremendous force, and the 
strong-willed father again gave way to the persistent re- 
quest of his strong-willed son. He entered Charleston 
College, became an enthusiastic student of the ancient 
languages and achieved honorable distinction at his grad- 

For his older brother to be got ready for Union College 
some preparation by the tailor was now become necessary. 
Hitherto the boy had worn a round jacket, but amongst 
other things a tail coat was now to be prepared for him. 
And such a tail coat as the Dutch tailor of Kinderhook 
did then construct ! It was short in the waist. It was 
short at the tail. What a figure he did cut when he put on 
that coat ! the recollection always makes me laugh now in 
my eighty-sixth year. But it was the first tail coat the 
boy had ever worn, and in his simplicity he felt that it 
constituted one long step towards manhood. So he went 
to Union College thus apparelled, and whenever he after- 
wards appeared along with other collegians in the streets 
of Schenectady (or old Durrip, as it was by them jocu- 
larly called), the small boys of the town, attracted partly 
by the shortness of his stature, and no doubt very largely 
by the shortness of the tail coat, would follow after, cry- 
ing out, "Look at the little student." I can't remember 
when, but suppose it could not have been very long before 
the "little student" became the master of a more respect- 
able tail coat. 

I stood successfully all the examination that was re- 
quired for admission into the sophomore class. But Dr. 


'Nott, President of the College, influenced perhaps some- 
what by the diminutiveness of my apj)earance, discour- 
aged my father from leaving me there. He was certainly 
to be honored for giving this candid advice, for there was 
no great plentifulness of students there at this time. 
What affected the President's judgment much more was 
that I was a Southern boy. He strongly portrayed the 
very peculiar danger there was that as such I would be 
ruined. Dr. ]^ott was a wise and good man ; he had had 
considerable experience with Southern students. Such a 
number of them from other colleges, some ^'suspended" 
or "rusticated," and some even "expelled" for dissipation 
or other bad conduct, had come to Union College, and the 
President had graciously received them into his classes, 
that Union College had earned the sobriquet of "Botany 
Bay." But great was Dr. ISTott's knowledge of human na- 
ture, especially in the young, and great was his delight 
in taking a young man who had been so disgraced, and, by 
judicious treatment, restoring him to self-respect and 
good behavior. Thus had he saved many a Southern 
youth. One such at Union College in my time was the 
celebrated statesman, Robert Toombs, of Georgia. But 
Dr. ISTott was persuaded that one so young and inexperi- 
enced as I, would certainly be in very special danger. My 
father, however, seemed to have very great confidence in 
his little son, and so it was decided that I should remain. 
He said very little to me, but I remember that his last 
words were, "Now, don't learn to smoke or chew or any 
other bad habit." 

But it was not very long before my father received a 
letter from Dr. Nott, which must have made him appre- 
hensive that his leaving me at college was a mistake. The 
letter informed him that his son had been found guilty 
of having liquor in his room, and a carousing party there 
at unseasonable hours of the night. The truth of the 
business was that during the examination held at the close 
of my first session in college, when I had got nearly 
through, and in a day or two vacation was to begin, a 
young man who was in the same class with my room-mate, 
came up to chat a little with his friend. This young man 
was named Reid, and was from Poughkcepsie, on the 


Hudson river. Mrs. Dr. 'Nott was from that same place, 
and this young man was, therefore, well kno\vn to the 
President. It was also understood that he was to become 
an Episcopal minister. My room-mate was a member of 
the Dutch Keformed Church, a decided Christian, and he 
also was destined to the ministry. After chatting with 
us for awhile, Reid, who was quite youthful, and of a 
social and lively disposition, said, ''I have some fresh 
eggs in my room ; suppose I bring them up here, and we 
scramble them in a tin plate, and we enjoy ourselves. 
This was the beginning of the affair. One and another of 
our fellow-students dropped in before the scrambling, and 
then it was thought advisable that we should have some- 
thing to eat with the eggs, and so I, with one other of the 
party, went over to the steward's hall, and bought a large 
apple-pie — I, being the Southern boy, probably furnishing 
the money. By the time we got back two or three more 
students had dropped in, and somehow or other, but I 
don't know how, a supply of whiskey had also been ob- 
tained. One of the last arrivals was Beall, a young Mary- 
lander, who was full of life and fun, and who made con- 
siderable noise at the entertainment. How many of the 
seven or eight present partook of the whiskey I cannot 
say ; but I feel sure my Dutch room-mate was not one of 
them, and I know that I didn't taste it. I have always 
been constitutionally averse to spirits of any kind. But 
to tell the truth, young Reid took enough of it to become a 
little hilarious, and then insisted on making a very bois- 
terous speech. Of course. Dr. Potter, the professor who 
had charge of our section of the college building, and who 
occupied a part of it with his family, must have heard 
the uproar, and no doubt he must have come and looked in 
upon our merriment. And so, no doubt, next morning 
we were all reported to the President. 

That day as I passed the President's study he was just 
coming out of it, and so he took me by the arm and we 
walked together to the next college building. He was ex- 
ceedingly kind and fatherly in talking with me, but dwelt 
on liquor being introduced into college as a very serious 
wrong. I don't remember if I told him that I had not in- 
troduced it nor even tasted it. I know that I accused no- 


body else ; all I remember was saying to him, "But, Doc- 
tor, it was only a little." "Ah! but, my son," he said, 
with his hand on my shoulder, "it is the principle that I 
look at." Here was a distinction made of the utmost im- 
portance, which I daresay never before occurred to me. 
I have always looked back upon that conversation with 
gratitude to the old President. That was all he said to 
me, but he added another kindness to me in communicat- 
ing his views of the matter, as he understood it, to my 
father. The paternal rebuke which I got was also very 
kind, expressing great surprise and keen disappointment 
that I should have "held a wine party in my room." Of 
course my reply must have given my father great satisfac- 
tion, as I sent him a full, frank and correct statement of 
the case. 

But the sequel, I must say, did not seem to me alto- 
gether honorable in the President. At the beginniiiii; of 
every new session, when we returned to college, after 
vacation, we always found hung up in a conspicuous place 
what was called the Merit Roll. It contained the names 
of the several classes separately written alphabetically, 
so that my name appeared almost at the head of the soph- 
omore class. Then there were five distinct columns, 
marked at the head of the first. Conduct ; the second. At- 
tendance, and the other three, the names of the three 
studies of the previous session. In each of these columns 
every student found opposite to his own name, publicly 
held forth, what had been his relative standing the pre- 
vious session. The highest grade, which we call Maxi- 
mum, was one himdred, any figure below ninety was 
rather disgraceful. I had reason to expect that I would 
not get quite one hundred in point of conduct, and so I 
was not surprised at all to be put down at ninety-nine. 
But I did consider it rather hard that my room-mate, who 
was a mature man, while I was a little boy, was made to 
stand at one hundred in conduct, and that young Reid was 
made to occupy the same honorable position. It was 
taken for granted that the Southern boy must be one of 
the guilty, but the two young preachers were to be let off. 
I never met either of these two again. 

The Southern boy was never involved in any other 


scandal during the whole of his course. For this there 
was one cause that was quite adequate for such an effect. 
A great moral change came over me during the next sum- 
mer. I have reason to believe that I came under the 
power of regenerating grace. This was in my sixteenth 
year, and four or five others of my class appeared to be 
affected in the same way. A brief account of this event 
will be interesting and perhaps profitable. I was just a 
light-hearted boy, by no means very studious, maintaining 
a tolerable stand at recitation, quite happy in my relation 
to all my college friends, and very well satisfied on the 
whole with myself. One day I got to the dining hall 
quite late, and there were very few students still at their 
dinner, but I very soon discovered that they were all a 
good deal agitated about something. Uj)on inquiring of 
one what was the matter, the answer was, "Why, that fel- 
low McDowell is going about talking to everybody on the 
subject of religion." How well do I remember the terror 
which immediately filled my soul, and how unwilling I 
was to have this discovered by others. So I assumed the 
air of one who has nothing to be afraid of, and boldly de- 
clared, "If he dares to speak to me, I will tell him I think 
on that subject for myself." I vainly imagined that this 
should be a perfect shield against McDowell's approach. 
But then McDowell never approached me, and I had to 
go to McDowell. I fully believe the Holy Spirit was begin- 
ning his work in me with that first shock of mortal terror. 
Who was McDowell ? A student some twenty-five years 
old, in the sophomore class with me, and who always sat 
right beside me in the class-room, and of whom I had had 
no dread until I heard the aj^palling news that he was 
talking of personal religion to some of our class-mates. 
Well do I remember how, some two or three months be- 
fore this, as I sat one Sunday in the gallery of the Pres- 
byterian church at Schenectady, I heard the minister, the 
Rev. Dr. Erskine Mason, say some words about the neces- 
sity of every one being converted and becoming a Chris- 
tion. But I quickly put aside what he uttered with the 
thought in my heart that I was too young to be concerned 
about that matter. But that day at dinner in the hall 
there came upon me an influence shaking out of me in one 


moment every particle of indifference, and dispelling for- 
ever all my fancied security. 

John R. McDowell was a poor young man from Can- 
ada, dressed in a suit of clothes hardly decent, who, we 
understood, got his boarding and tuition for the service 
of ringing the college bell wath careful punctuality at 
every recitation, and for prayers in the early morning. 
The room that Avas given him was a miserable apartment, 
a kind of long corridor in the second story of a wing in 
the college building. He was put there to be close to the 
bell. Much older than the most of his class-mates he was 
by no means in advance of them in our studies. And then 
he halted in his walk, being somewhat lame in one leg. 
Look now at this picture. There was nothing in the cir- 
cumstances or appearance of John K. McDowell to 
awaken our respect, in fact there was much calculated to 
make us thoughtless boys look down upon him. But he 
was a holy man of God, a thoroughly earnest Christian, 
and therefore his personal deformity, his poverty, his old 
clothes, his want of any superior claims to talent or edu- 
cation, set him before us all in the same light in which 
Paul, the poor tent-maker, and all the other humble apos- 
tles of our Lord, stood before the rich and the great in 
Jerusalem, Asia Minor, Greece and Rome. 

This man McDowell, as I said, never addressed me a 
word on the subject of religion, but there was a higher 
power operating within my soul. The conviction that I 
was a sinner took strong hold of me. I scarcely thought 
of anything else, and yet I managed to get my lessons and 
recite them about as well as ever. But I spent my leisure 
hours in reading the Bible, or conferring with a few of 
my classmates and others affected in the same manner 
as myself ; or else betaking myself to the fields behind the 
college, I strolled about in solitary prayer. 

One day, when alone with my new room-mate, Peter 
Henry Sylvester, of Kinderhook, a class-mate of his 
called. This young man, a number of years my senior, 
was very fond of me, in fact made me a pet, and fre- 
quently took me on his knee. He was a fine, manly fel- 
low, tall and handsome, from Central, ISTew York State. 
I admired him greatly. His name was Rufus \V. Peck- 


ham. He became an eminent lawyer, prominent member 
of Congress, but he was drowned many years afterwards, 
when the steamship Arctic went down in the Atlantic, 
with so many of her passengers. He has a son and name- 
sake now sitting in the Supreme Court of the United 
States. This friend of mine occupied a room immedi- 
ately opposite to mine. He began talking, as soon as he 
was seated, with Sylvester, about the man McDowell. He 
said his room-mate did nothing but read the Bible and 
pray since McDowell had been talking to him. Then he 
turns to me, continuing his talk, and says, "Why, Adger, 
I hear that you are one of them." I do not remember 
what answer I made him, but rose almost immediately 
and went across to his room, where I found my class-mate, 
David H. Little, brushing his own shoes. I said to him, 
"Little, where are you going ?" He answered, "I am 
going over to McDowell's room to attend a prayer-meet- 
ing." I had never heard of this prayer-meeting before, 
but immediately said, "I will go with you." So we 
started together. Just in front of the college, as we issued 
forth, there was a muster and drill of a company of cadets 
of the college, which Dr. I^^ott encouraged us all to join. 
Little and I were both members, but our places in the 
muster that afternoon were vacant. I felt sure that our 
companions in the drill observed us, and knew whither we 
were going. But the power that was working within 
made me bold and ind liferent to wdiatever they might 
think. That was my first visit to McDowell's prayer- 
meeting in his poor, miserable quarters. I went regularly 
after that. My distress of mind continued for about a 
fortnight. Prominent in their attendance at this meeting 
were a number of students, nearly or quite all of them 
full-grown men, apparently between twenty-three and 
twenty-eight years of age, all backward in their education 
and noted for their low stand in their classes, poorly clad, 
and, like ^McDowell himself, not held in much personal 
respect by the students generally. But they were good 
men and consistent followers of Christ, and all took their 
part alternately in the conduct of the prayer-meeting. 
One afternoon in great distress, sitting away oif in one 
corner of McDowell's long apartment, listening to all that 


was said, I heard some one speaking of tliat passage of 
Scripture, "We know that we have passed from death 
Tinto life, because we love the brethren," when, lo ! imme- 
diately the hope sprang up in my heart, as I looked at the 
crowd of these poor disciples, that I also ''must have 
passed from death unto life," because assuredly I do love 
these despised brethren. This made me feel very happy. 
I believed that I was justified by faith, and therefore I 
had peace with God through Jesus Christ my Lord. My 
peace, however, was not very long-continued. A great 
darkness came over my soul. I gave up all hope that my 
sins had been forgiven, and again I began to feel, as I had 
done before, that I was on the brink of everlasting ruin. 
Again and again I dare not lay my head at night upon 
my pillow, lest if I should fall asleep I might wake up in 
the abyss. In my great distress I had recourse to jMc- 
Dowell. It was evening. I went to his room, he prayed 
with me and talked with me, but I was not relieved ; he 
left me after awhile to go down into the tovm, where he 
was holding a prayer-meeting. I sat by his lamp and read 
the Bible and tried to pray. When he returned I was in 
the same condition ; again he essayed for a long time to 
help me, but in vain. At last, being worn out himself and 
obliged to ring the bell punctually early in the morning, 
he retired to his bed, but I continued to sit by his lamp, 
seeking to find again the hope that I had lost. A long 
time I remained in that same despairing state of mind. I 
was reluctant to return to my own room, as it was very 
late at night. At last I was exhausted by excitement and 
fatigue. My poor friend's bed did not look very inviting, 
it was quite alive with previous occupants — I saw them 
plainly — but I was not in a condition to be deterred by 
such circumstances, and so I threw myself down by his 
side and slept till his bell aroused me, when I repaired to 
my own quarters. 

These alternations of darkness and light, of doubts and 
hopes continued, as is usilal with young believers, for 
some time. After a fev^ months I was received upon pro- 
fession of faith as a member of the Presbyterian church 
in Schenectady. My room-mate, Sylvester, and my spe- 
cial friend Peckham ended their course, and I then be- 



came a room-mate with David H. Little, and we remained 
together imtil we were both graduated in 1828. 

I look back upon my college course with much dissatis- 
faction. True, I have great reason to be thankful that it 
was then and there that I received, as I trust, my first per- 
sonal experience of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. But, 
speaking of my three years' course there as to educational 
improvement, it was certainly a failure. The truth is, I 
was not prepared to go to college. According to the stan- 
dard of preparation for the sophomore in Union at that 
period, I had knowledge enough perhaps of the English 
language, as well as of the Latin and Greek. But I was 
a mere boy as to my development of character, mind — yes, 
a mere child as to the knowledge of men and things, and 
I spent my three years there to very little purpose. I 
never made a serious effort at study, and I may say lost 
most of the advantages of the course, being graduated be- 
fore I was eighteen years old. I must say with gratitude 
to Professor Wayland, that he made a personal effort on 
one occasion to rouse me up to some sense of the value of 
my opportunities. I was sawing a log of wood for my 
stove, after recitation hours. He stepped out of his study, 
came up to me familiarly, took the saw out of my hand, 
finished the cutting, and then said to me, "Adger, why 
were you not better prepared with your lesson this morn- 
ing 'V and he then gave me a very kind and fatherly lec- 
ture on being more diligent. I must also record here my 
sincere thankfulness for his earnest and delightful relig- 
ious instructions to a number of us, whom he met occa- 
sionally in one of our rooms. In justice also to Dr. ISTott, 
I must acknowledge that his instructions to the senior 
class (the text-book, strange to say, being none other than 
Lord Kames^ Elements of Criticism) were made by him 
the occasion of giving us what I think we all valued more 
than anything else in the whole course, viz., many practi- 
cal lessons as to human nature, and the best way of deal- 
ing with men and succeeding in all affairs. Dr. l^ott 
was a great and good man. But after I left college and 
began to think and observe for myself, I came to under- 
stand that these instructions were lessons more of policy 
than of principle, and I became sensible of a very strong 


reaction in my mind against his teachings. I was led to 
renounce entirely his doctrine of expediency, and it is 
my honest opinion, candidly written here, that if in my 
public course I have been frequently led into the mainte- 
nance of extreme opinions, one cause has been disgust 
with the timid and selfish spirit that always seeks some 
middle ground. I do not forget what Macaulay tells us 
of the Marquis of Halifax, who, when taunted with being 
a trimmer, replied, "Yes, I trim between extremists, as 
the Temperate zone between the Torrid and the Frigid." 
This is just like what the "Moderates" of the Church of 
Scotland said of themselves. I count it a great compli- 
ment Mdiich my venerable colleague at Columbia Semi- 
nary, Dr. George Howe, paid me, when he said, "Adger 
is a man that has no disguises." The astute old President 
of Union College was the father of many 'New York poli- 
ticians. The famous William H. Seward, Secretary of 
State in 1861, was one of them. When I was a boy at 
college, Mr. Seward came there once, a young and rising 
lawyer of Central l^ew York ; he came on a visit to his 
college society, of which I was a member. I gave him an 
invitation to ride in a buggy with me to the Colioes Falls, 
seven miles from Schenectady. He honored me by ac- 
cepting. I have often thought what a change there might 
have been in the history of the United States if I had 
happened unfortunately to upset the buggy and broken 
Seward's neck. Possibly there had been no "irrepressible 
conflict" in our country between free and slave labor, and 
possibly no war between the States. 

And so it turned out, in the good providence and 
through the grace of God, that the venerable President's 
apprehensions that the little Southern boy, not yet fifteen 
years old, would be ruined if his father should leave him 
at college were not fulfilled. The boy learned neither to 
use profane language, nor to love whiskey, nor to gamble, 
nor to practise any other ordinary vices of a dissipated 
college life. Here I must relate a circumstance, occurring 
many years after my boyhood. I had been a missionary 
in Turkey for twelve years, but was at home and sitting 
at dinner in my father's house. He had several gentle- 
men guests at his table, and while I sat near to my mother. 



who was at the head of the table, I coukl overhear the 
conversation of the gentlemen at the other end. They 
were discussing the best way to raise boys. My father 
was denouncing the too common practice at that time of 
Southern gentlemen to give the boy his pocket full of cash 
and set him on a pony with a gun in his hand as the sure 
road to his ruin, and I even heard him boasting a little 
of his success in bringing up his son, although he had to 
send him away from home at an early age. One point he 
made was that I was not allowed pocket money. Being 
young and inexperienced and far from home, he had 
taken Dr. ISTott's advice to remit all money for my ex- 
penses at college to the treasurer of the institution, who 
would see to my necessary wants. Then I spoke, and all 
were ready to listen to my testimony. I modestly re- 
marked that I did not think this money arrangement had 
worked so very successfully. I stated that under the ar- 
rangement I still always had as much money in my pocket 
as I wanted. I would go to Captain Holland, the treas- 
urer, from time to time, and he would give me ten, fifteen 
or twenty dollars, just as I pleased. But I added that I 
could tell my father what, far more than the lack of 
pocket money, was the reason why his boy had not been 
ruined at college. All looked and listened. Then I said, 
"It was simply breed," then all laughed, the old gentle- 
man included. 


Theological Seminary Life. — Our Marriage and 

Sailing for Smyrna. — My' Wife^s Ancestry-. 


IMMEDIATELY after commencement was over at 
Union College, in June, 1828, having delivered my 
little speech and taken leave of college friends, I set out 
with a class-mate named Benjamin Burroughs, of Savan- 
nah, to visit ISTiagara Falls. I had been to the Falls once 
before with my father and mother, when our family and 
that of Thomas Fleming, Esq., of Philadelphia, my fa- 
ther's particular friend, had made the trip together from 
Albany in a passenger canal boat. The great Governor 
of ]S[ew York, De Witt Clinton, had recently accomplished 
his great work, the Erie Canal, thus connecting Buffalo 
City by water all the way with I^ew York. These pas- 
senger boats gave us tolerably comfortable accommoda- 
tions, a table for our meals in the day time, and at night 
berths rigged up for sleeping. It was a novel way of 
travelling, but very slow, the whole journey of over three 
hundred miles being performed at a slow trot by a couple 
of horses driven along the canal bank and dragging the 
boat after them. It occupied, if I remember rightly, 
about three days. There were frequent "locks" to be 
filled, which occupied much time. These locks were 
built of very solid masonry, each one long enough and 
wide enough to receive a canal boat. The boat would 
enter a lock, and its lower gate being closed on the boat, 
water would be let into the lock by degrees from the upper 
gate, and so the boat would be raised some ten or fifteen 
feet, then the upper gates would be opened and the horses 
beginning again to drag, we were enabled gradually to 
surmount the highlands which separated Bufi^alo from 
Albany. Of course, these passenger boats have long since 
been withdrawn from the canal, l)iit T suppose the freight 


boats have continued during all these seventy years to 
bring down heavy freights from the Great Lakes to the 
Atlantic ocean. 

My friend Burroughs and I didn't fancy canal-boat 
travelling. We wanted to make the trip by stage, and 
so we got the opportunity of riding through beautiful 
Western jSTew York, and being charmed with its many ele- 
gant villages. We had the company, the pleasant and 
profitable company, of Alonzo Porter, Esq., of Savannah, 
and his beautiful wife, and we boys enjoyed ourselves 

If I remember rightly this trip had been suggested to 
me by my father, for I still possess a letter from him 
giving me many hints and much advice about what I 
should try and see during the journey, so as to obtain the 
greatest benefit from the same. Once before this, during 
my college course, he had arranged for me to go with his 
friend, and subsequently my friend. Judge Mitchell King, 
of Charleston, who was on his way to attend the com- 
mencement at Yale College. That was the only time I 
ever saw the beautiful city of 'New Haven, and all the 
grand doings at a Yale commencement. The city was 
beautiful indeed, and the commencement was grand in- 
deed, though both the city and the college, now the Uni- 
versity, have become, of course, very much grander. Oh ! 
the kindness of my father to me ! by no means appreciated 
then, in my thoughtless bovhood, but understood now, in 
some measure, as I review my life from the beginning, 
re-reading some of his old letters and recalling to mind 
many of his special favors to me, and wondering often- 
times how I could have failed at the time to perceive and 
estimate it, and bitterly lamenting how much his exalted 
hopes respecting me must have been disappointed. I feel 
sure I was his favorite son at the beginning and for many 
years, but that subsequently he canie to appreciate both 
William first, and then Robert, deservedly far above me. 

I spent the winter and well-nigh the whole year sub- 
sequent to my graduation chiefly at home in Charleston, 
but it was not profitably spent; indeed, very far from 
profitably. I think, as I look back, that I did not grow 
either in knowledge or in grace ; nevertheless I was led. 


I hope I may trust, by the Divine Spirit, to a fixed con- 
chision that it was my duty to submit myself to a train- 
ing for the gospel ministry. Accordingly, in September, 
^ 1829, I entered the Theological Seminary at Princeton, 
xwhere I spent almost four years. I found myself here in 
^a very different atmosphere from that either of my college 
or my Charleston life. My fellow-students were all de- 
voted to the acquisition of sacred learning, and the culti- 
vation of the spiritual life. Many of them were very 
godly men. Religious truth filled the very air. Our con- 
versations were all about the Scriptures. I was thrown 
into the company and fell under the influence of a num- 
ber of young men of a deeper Christian experience and a 
loftier tone of piety than I had ever met. The professors, 
Drs. Alexander and Miller and Hodge, impressed me as 
no other Christian ministers had ever done, l^ot only 
their profound learning, but the saintliness of their char- 
acter, filled me with awe. The religious exercises in the 
Seminary, even those where the professors took no part, 
were of a sort that I had never previously attended. It 
was not long before I was led to doubt whether I was any 
way fit to be there. My distress soon came to be un- 
bearable. I abandoned altogether the hope I had been 
cherishing, that I was a Christian. It was a dreadful 
experience. I gave up all study and betook myself to 
prayer. After a period of great darkness the Lord re- 
vealed himself to me, and I found peace. It was the 
beginning for me of a new religious life. 

I have often questioned whether what I have just now 
said is strictly true ; certainly I did not now begin to lead 
a truly holy life, although religious truth did certainly 
affect me in many ways more than it had previously done. 
Perhaps I might say I became a better Christian, but I 
was really a very poor sort of a Christian any way. It 
was then my belief that I had never been converted before, 
and that all my previous religious experiences had been 
absolutely vain and worthless. That is not my judgment 
now, as I look back upon the whole course of my life ; for 
if I am to renounce all my religious experiences before I 
went to Princeton because they were so miserably de- 
ficient, I must, to be consistent, also renounce those that 

O^rrcLc^^ y.G-u^ 



followed what I may call my second conversion, because 
they too have always been certainly miserably deficient. 
The Christian life is a journey of many steps. We have 
to rise from a low plane first to one that is higher, but 
still not high. We have to go from step to step,^ rising 
from plane to plane, still never reaching the height of 
true and perfect holiness. We are made perfect only at 
death. In the Spirit's work of sanctification, except 
where it is suspended during our periods of spiritual 
slumbering and sleeping, we die more and more every day 
unto sin, and we live more and more every day unto 
righteousness. Then, oh! blessed consummation, the 
souls of believers, being in death made perfectly holy, do- 
pass immediately into glory. 

Princeton Seminary, some seventy years ago, when I 
attended there, had only one three-story dormitory build- 
ing, with Dr. Alexander's dwelling on the righthand of 
it,"and Dr. Hodge's on the left. Dr. Miller's house was 
in the town, and a number of the students also had their 
lodgings and found their boarding in the town. Usually 
two, sometimes three, students occupied one room in the 
dormitory building. I had my quarters there at the first, 
and got my meals in the Refectory, where most of the 
students ate. But I found it a bad plan. Eating our food 
gregariously was not wholesome. Most of the students had 
dyspepsia, and I did not escape till I quit the hall and 
went to board in a private family in the town. What 
added greatly to the evil was the publication at that very 
time of a work entitled Dyspepsia Forestalled and Re- 
sisted. I think the author's name was Hitchcock. Among 
other features were the most precise directions as to how 
much a man should eat and drink in a day, so many 
ounces of food and drink. With a particular friend of 
mine, a dear and charming fellow, by name Montgomery 
Harris, from Baltimore, who finished his ministerial 
course early, I had frequent consultations about dyspepsia 
and these rules of Hitchcock, in fact we agreed together 
to measure out our food and drink according to these 
rules, and to stand by them for one fortnight. We got 
through alive, but it nearly killed both of us. I found 
out afterwards that when our Saviour says, "Therefore 


take no thought, saying, what shall we eat, or what shall 
we drink," his words may well be understood and applied 
literally. Nothing disturbs digestion more effectually 
than anxious thinking or talking about dietetic rules. It 
is good now as in apostolic times to eat what is set before 
us, asking no question. 

The professors at Princeton in my day were only three 
in number, but they were as good in every res})cct as 
could be found at that time in this country. Indeed, all 
things considered, no three better professors can, in my 
judgment, be found now in any of the numerous institu- 
tions of learning and religion all over the land. Dr. Arch- 
ibald Alexander, formerly a minister in Virginia, stood 
then at the head of all the theologians of the Presbyterian 
Church in America. His natural endowments could not 
be surpassed ; he was a learned and thoroughly sound 
theologian, and he had all the sagacity and wisdom neces- 
sary to fit him to preside over a school where a hundred 
and twenty young men were preparing for the ministry. 
Above all he was a holy man of God. His wife, born Janet 
Waddell, was the daughter of the celebrated blind 
preacher of that name in Virginia, whom Wirt, in his 
British Spy, has so eloquently described. They had sev- 
eral sons who rose to eminence, among whom was Joseph 
Addison Alexander, whose preeminent intellectual abil- 
ities, varied and profound learning, and extraordinary 
pulpit qualifications, made him superior to most and in- 
ferior perhaps to no one of his brethren. 

Old Dr. Alexander was not only by birth a Southerner, 
but in all the characteristic features of our people. He 
was a simple-hearted, straightforward man. In his old 
age, which was when I knew him, his nervous system was 
very subject to the influences of the east wind. We 
youngsters always knew when the wind was blowing from 
that quarter the moment we looked at the Professor's face 
when he entered the lecture-room. He must have been, 
I suppose, under one of these spells when the following 
incident occurred. There was a student from South Car- 
olina, a very conscientious and good man, to whom all his 
brethren looked up with reverence, not of his intellect, but 
of his heai't. He was unusually advanced as to age, while 


as to zeal and piety he was, as it were, the leader, not only 
of his own class, but all the Seminary. He had taken 
up the idea of total abstinence from all intoxicating 
drinks in its extremest form. It became known in the 
Seminary that the old Doctor denied the soundness of this 
principle. The venerable student's zeal aspired to the 
conversion of his teacher. The Doctor patiently con- 
ferred with him two or three days, but remained impreg- 
nable to the logic of his zealous visitor. On the third day, 
so the story goes, the east wind was specially rough, the 

Professor's patience forsook him, ''Mr. B ," said he, 

"I made up my mind on this subject before you were 

born." This argument silenced Brother B , and he 

retired from the contest. 

Dr. Samuel Miller, the professor of Church History 
and Polity, was a perfect gentleman of the old school in 
manners and character. He was well fitted to publish 
his work on Clerical Manners and Habits. He was also 
a sound Presbyterian, and his book on the eldership is a 
most valuable volume. Before he was made professor at 
Princeton he had been one of the leading ministers of 
New York City at a time when those words signified a 
great deal more of what is respectable than they do now. 
He was greatly revered by all us students for his urban- 
ity, learning and piety. If he could appear now in the 
midst of the Presbytery of ISTew York just as he looked 
and as he was when I last saw him, I fear he would 
neither recognize nor be recognized by the majority of 
that body. 

The two old professors differed not much in age, but 
the habits of their life were very different. Dr. Miller 
was very regular and methodical in all his ways. He 
regularly took his constitutional walks. Old Dr. Alex- 
ander almost never left his study. When I have seen him 
at great intervals of time slowly walking through the 
streets of Princeton, it was amusing to observe how, as he 
strolled along, he would look at every house and almost 
every object on the street, just as you might expect a 
man who had not for twelve months seen anything but the 
books in his library. It was said that Dr. Miller fre- 
quently remonstrated with him for neglecting to go out 


and get the fresh air and stretch his limbs, but his col- 
league always replied that "bodily exercise profiteth lit- 
tle." These two were grand old men. I was an occa- 
sional visitor in their families, and have to thank both 
of them for very great kindness to me. I went to Asia 
Minor after my four years' course in the Seminary, and 
three years afterwards, namely, in 1837, the Presbyte- 
rian Church was rent by the new school controversy, and 
the excision of four large Western synods. Before this 
took place, and while the controversy was still at its 
height, I received two very long autograph letters from 
. good old Dr. Alexander, each letter consisting of eight 
pages about a foot long, and fully as wide, saying that, as 
I was in foreign lands, he would try and keep me posted 
as to what was going on. I still have these letters in my 

Dr. Charles Hodge spent some time at the Universities 
in Germany before he entered on his professorship. Dur- 
ing my course at Princeton he w^as our teacher in He- 
brew and the Greek of the jS^ew Testament. I do not 
remember that, besides this latter, he gave us any special 
exegetical instruction. He was a very lovable man, mild 
■ and sweet and gentle wath us all, but I do not think he 
I was a good teacher. He roused in us no enthusiasm for 
I either of the Bible languages, nor was he a good preacher. 
He gave the force of his mind, I think, to the study of 
theology. The new school controversy was then becom- 
ing quite earnest. Dr. Hodge was editor of the Biblical 
Repertory and Princeton Review. In these pages ap- 
peared many forcible articles from his pen. Professor 
Stuart, of Andover Seminary, published his Commen- 
tary on Romans, which took the JSTew School side. Dr. 
Hodge at first reviewed with great ability Professor Stu- 
art's work, and then subsequently published his commen- 
tary on the same epistle, which, I believe, to a great extent 
neutralized the poison there was in the Andover book. It 
w^as a great success, and lifted Dr. Hodge at once to a 
high rank amongst theologians. Dr. Hodge treated me 
with great kindness, and so did his good wife, the first 
Mrs. Hodge. Well do I remember the future Dr. Archi- 
bald Hodge, a missionary first to India, and then the dis- 


tingiiislicd successor of his father, as he used to run about 
the Seminary grounds a flaxen-haired, blue-eyed, rosy- 
cheeked little boy of seven or eight summers, and one or 
two of his little brothers with him. Dr. Charles Hodge 
was a great theologian. His three ponderous volumes 
on Systematic Theology are a treasure to any of the thou- 
sand ministers who were his students while he lived, and 
should be to his students now that he is dead. But Dr. 
Hodge never studied the church polity of Presbyterian- 
ism. He never understood the subject. His debate with 
Dr. Thornwell in the Assembly at Kochester, the last one 
where the South and N'orth portions of the church met 
together, exhibited this deficiency on the part of the great 
teacher. Much more apparent he made it when he under- 
took to discuss that debate in the Princeton Review; and 
when Dr. Thornwell replied to him in the Southern Pres- 
byterian Review, it became wofully palpable. Any one 
can see for himself what I have said, for both productions 
appear in the fourth volume of Dr. Thornwell's collected 
writings, where also appear the reports of their discus- 
sion in that last Assembly. That was an impressive occa- 
sion, the ISTorthern church and her Southern sister coming 
together for the last time in the persons of their two lead- 
ing representatives, and taking their respective stands on 
very great ecclesiastical issues preparatory to their sep- 

At Princeton I formed the acquaintance of quite a 
number of young men who subsequently played important 
parts on the stage of life. It was there I first saw Robert 
J. Breckinridge, though I did not become at all ac- 
quainted with him, neither was he one of those young men 
just referred to. He had become eminent at the bar, but 
was converted, gave up that profession and entered the 
Presbyterian ministry, and spent a few months at Prince- 
ton, not as a student, but as a visitor. He was conferring, 
I suppose, with our professors about church matters. At 
Princeton I first knew C. C. Jones, the famous apostle to 
the negroes in Liberty county, Ga., afterwards a pro- 
fessor at Columbia Seminary, and subsequently the Home 
Missionary Secretary of the then undivided Presbyterian 
Church. I translated into the Armenian language and 


published at Smyrna, witli certain alterations necessary 
to accommodate it to its new use, the catechism of simple 
gospel truth which he wrote for his negro disciples. As 
a primary manual for Armenian inquirers and believers 
perhaps no book issued by our press in Smyrna could 
have been more acceptable or more useful. It seemed to 
furnish them just what they wanted to know about the 
fundamental principles of Protestant doctrine. At 
Princeton I also became acquainted pretty well with 
Henry A. Boardman, and, still better, with Cortlandt 
Van Rensselaer^ both eminent afterw^ards as Presbyte- 
rian ministers. I had a room in the same private house 
with Van Rensselaer, and ate with him at the same table. 
He was one of ISTature's noblemen. It was he whom, when 
high in ecclesiastical office as the Secretary of one of the 
Boards, and wielding deservedly wide influence all over 
the church from his well-known ability, but especially 
from his exalted character as a man, Dr. Breckinridge 
pronounced to be the most dangerous man in the Presby- 
terian Church — dangerous because, as he considered him, 
infected with the slack-twisted Presbyterianism still 
somewhat prevalent in the Old School party, after the 
excision of the J^ew School body. Dr. Breckinridge 
meant this as the high compliment which it was. He 
greatly respected Van Rensselaer, as did everybody else. 
I also became well acquainted with Nathan L. Rice, cele- 
brated afterwards all over the West for the various public 
controversies which he successfully maintained with 
Campbell and others, and even more famous perhaps for 
the distinguished part he played on the right side in the 
'New School controversy of 1835, '36 and '37. Rice was 
my senior by several years, and had been for some time 
in the Presbyterian ministry before he came to Princeton. 
Of course, he was able to teach me, and he did teach me 
many things in theology I had not otherwise learned. 
Our acquaintance was intimate and proved very valuable 
to me. At Princeton I again met with my old Union Col- 
lege friend, Jo/in McDowell, the man of God of an humble 
spirit and a loving heart, but a fiery and yet most tender 
zeal. He distinguished himself as the apostle of the Five 
Points in New York City. Then there was John C. 


Lowrie. He was for some years a missionary in India, or 
possibly in China, where his brother was killed by Chinese 
pirates. John C. Lowrie was afterwards Secretary for 
many years of the jSTorthern Presbyterian Board of For- 
eign Missions, along with his father, the eminent Walter 
Lowrie, Esq., and also our John Leighton Wilson. I was 
very intimate with both Armstrong and Alexander, who 
spent their lives as missionaries to the Sandwich Islands. 
Then there were Joseph Barr and John B. Pinney, who 
were sent out to Africa to explore the country with a view 
to returning afterwards and settling there as missionaries. 
Pinney was an enthusiastic Christian man, of fair edu- 
cation, and remarkable energy of character. I think he 
never became a missionary in Africa, but his whole life 
was devoted to work for that continent in some form or 
other. He was for many years Governor of the Liberian 
Republic of American negroes at Monrovia, on the coast 
of Africa. Joseph Barr was a much stronger man, full 
of foreign missionary zeal. He enthused us all on his 
return from his exploring trip by telling us of some mis- 
sionary to whom a heathen man once came, asking, "Are 
you Jesus Christ man ?" ''My brethren," said Barr to us, 
"which of you would not be glad to go and be a Jesus 
Christ man amongst some heathen people, pointing out to 
them the way of salvation ?" But Barr was never priv- 
ileged to go himself. A very short time after he returned 
from Africa, he was seized with fatal sickness and called 
up. I have not yet mentioned the name of Edward 
Tonge Buist, with whom I enjoyed one of the most 
intimate and profitable friendships I had at Princeton. 
His was a vigorous and active intellect, and he was very 
fond of discussion on theological points. We helped to 
sharpen in one another the spirit of inquiry and research, 
for, in after years, he frequently told me that mine was 
perhaps the most profitable friendship he had ever 
formed. He and I were partners in a Sunday-school, in 
conducting which we alternated every Sunday afternoon, 
some four miles from the Seminary. This plan of use- 
fulness to others prevailed greatly amongst the students, 
and was very advantageous also to themselves. At one 
period of my Princeton course, I belonged to a committee 


of students who were conveyed every Sunday morning- 
down to the city of Trenton, some ten or twelve miles be- 
low Princeton, where we had a Sunday-school among the 
convicts in the State's prison. This was another oppor- 
tunity of usefulness to others and not less to ourselves. 
While we were thus engaged, the Asiatic cholera visited 
the United States. There were a number of cases in the 
New Jersey State's Prison. Our Sunday-school teachers, 
nevertheless, kept up the school. We frequently had oc- 
casion to sit by the bedside of the sick and dying, giving 
them religious instruction and comfort. 

All these my early friends at Princeton, T believe, have 
passed over the river before me ; I think I have survived 
them all. But I have not yet named the man — and he, 
too, has already passed over — who more affected my fu- 
ture life than all these others put together. This was my 
class-mate, William M. Thomson, a Northwestern Pres- 
byterian, a man of rough exterior, but he wielded a pol- 
ished pen, had plenty of brains and became a distin- 
guished missionary for a half century amongst the Arabs 
in Syria. He was the author of The Land and the Booh 
and other very valuable works. 

Thomson said to me one afternoon, "Adger, let us 
walk down to the river and take a bath." As we were re- 
turning together, he asked if I had ever thought of becom- 
ing a foreign missionary. I replied that we were in such 
great need of more ministers at the South that it had 
never entered my mind to consider that subject. We 
talked over the subject as we walked back, and, repairing 
to my room together, we continued our conference till 
bed-time. The subject thus casually brought to my at- 
tention, took an immediate and very strong hold upon me. 
I saw at once that great as might be the need of more min- 
isters in my own State every heathen nation was incom- 
parably more destitute. The deep interest thus excited 
never left me for a day until after years of careful and 
prayerful consideration I was led to offer my services to 
the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Mis- 
sions. They consisted of Congregationalists and Presby- 
terians together. At that period our church had no sep- 
arate organization for foreign work. A society had just 


arisen somewhere in Pennsylvania, named the Western 
Foreign Missionary Society, which in after years came to 
represent the whole Presbyterian body. But at the time 
of my engagement with the Boston Board I knew little or 
nothing of it. 

I found out after some time that my friend Thomson 
belonged to a secret association of Princeton men, all 
specially interested in foreign missions, who made it their 
business to bring that subject to the attention of indi- 
viduals in their respective classes. They were thus a body 
of propagandists. ISTone of those whom they approached 
suspected that they had been selected to be operated on. 
Still later I found out that within this informal associa- 
tion there was another more formal and more secret one, 
consisting only of those who had made up their mind to 
embark in the work. Thus there was a wheel within a 
wheel, and both of them worked efficiently. Old Dr. 
Alexander, several times, met with us in this inside organ- 
ization, and we got from him a great deal of useful in- 
struction and advice. We also had a "Society of Inquiry 
on Missions," which held public meetings, and different 
committees read reports about the various heathen lands. 

I entered the Seminary September, 1829, and con- 
tinued a member of it until the close of the Seminary 
year, 1833, when I was licensed by ISTew Brunswick Pres- 
bytery. But we had a vacation of three or four weeks in 
the spring. In the spring of 1831 I visited my home in 
Charleston, and there, in the good providence of God, I 
first saw my future wife. Miss Elizabeth Keith Shrews- 
bury. I was returning from a prayer-meeting with my 
mother and sister Margaret. At the corner of Mary and 
King streets my sister observed the above named young 
lady, with whom she had recently become very intimately 
acquainted, on the other side of King street, engaged in 
the duty of tract distribution. She called to her to come ^ 
over. It required some little urging to get her consent, 
but she came. My sister said to me, "ISTow you shall see 
blushes," and I saw them. I was introduced to her, and 
with me it was love at first sight. My sister persuaded 
her to go up home with us to take tea, and then accom- 
pany us to another religious service. I walked with the 



blooming stranger, and my first impressions were deep- 
ened. I visited her several times, and every Sunday took 
pains to slip into the infant school-room, where she taught 
some fifty little pupils. I stood at the door behind her 
back, and was charmed with her methods of interesting 
and instructing those little ones. My sister very soon 
charged me with being fascinated. I told her I certainly 
was, "and now," said I, "as you sympathize strongly with 
me in being attracted to a foreign missionary life, you 
must see if, when I return to the Seminary, you cannot 
interest your friend's mind in the same subject, and, as 
you are occasionally exchanging notes with one another, 
you must sometimes send me one of her notes for my in- 
spection." The following spring I returned again to 
Charleston, and after two or three interviews with the 
lady who on my previous visit had so deeply interested 
me, my mind was made up, that she was the one I wished 
to marry. But I did not then immediately propose to 

While my thoughts were thus absorbed with the great 
subject of the foreign propagation of the Christian faith, 
and while I was very seriously engaged in making prepa- 
rations, if providentially permitted to take part in that 
work, the State of South Carolina, but especially the city 
of Charleston, was agitated to its very centre with the 
question of nullification. This agitation, if I am well in- 
formed, began in 1824, when Judge William Smith, the 
old leader of the Crawford party in South Carolina, 
offered in the Legislature at Columbia certain anti-bank, 
anti-internal improvement and anti-tariff resolutions. 
My father was a great admirer of Mr. Crawford, and also 
of Judge William Smith. Judge Smith in those days 
was Mr. Calhoun's stiff State Rights opponent, at whom 
this whole original movement was aimed. Judge Smith 
triumphed for the time, obtained the party predomi- 
'nance in the State, and was sent back, as he desired, to 
his seat in the United States Senate. But logic was not 
the Judge's fort, as it was Mr. Calhoun's. The South 
Carolina resolutions of Judge Smith were levelled against 
the general government usurpations, as he thought them, 
but his abler opponent educed from his adversary's own 



principles a remedy he had not thought of, and which was 
to end in a direct conilict between the Federal and State 
authorities. The discussions which for six years had been 
agitating the State in 1831 culminated, and the urgent 
issue was whether it was expedient to interpose the sov- 
ereign power of South Carolina to prevent the execution 
of the tariff laws. There were great and noble men in 
lead of both sides. The conflict enlisted every person, 
great and small, male and female. My father belonged to 
the party which claimed the name of the Union and State 
Eights party. Like multitudes of other very busy men, 
he turned aside largely from his daily occupations to the 
great question which was convulsing our State. He was 
very desirous to have me attend some of the public meet- 
ings, but my mind was too much preoccupied with still 
greater questions. Yet, one morning I was terrified when 
I heard him relate what had happened the previous night. 
Each party was having a large gathering of its followers. 
It was evident that a bloody encounter would ensue should 
the opposing crowds happen to meet upon the dissolution 
of their assemblies. That eminent citizen, Joel R. Poin- 
sett, was just at that time the leader of the Union party 
in Charleston. At the close of their meeting, and when 
his crowd were about to go forth in the expectation of a 
fearful rencounter with their opponents that night, Mr. 
Poinsett, taking out a key from his pocket, opened a door 
leading from the hall where they were assembled into an 
adjoining apartment, which was in fact a spacious closet. 
He had had a large supply of clubs stored up there for 
just this very occasion, and he invited every one of his fol- 
lowers to help himself to a club. Thus armed they issued 
forth, and, behold ! as they marched along, there were 
seen on the other side of one of our streets the many hun- 
dreds who belonged to the other party. Each party 
marched and counter-marched on each side of the street, 
and one party certainly, and the other party probably, 
were both prepared for a bloody encounter. There was 
jeering on both sides, but the leaders, a kind providence 
watching over our city, managed to prevent their fol- 
lowers from coming to a contest in the middle of the 
street. I listened with trembling thankfulness to this 


narrative. Lofty and grand is patriotic sentiment, when 
it is sincere, Duice et decorum est pro patria mori. But 
alas ! that every true man can be so easily and so power- 
fully roused about his country's welfare, and yet Chris- 
tian men are generally so indifferent to the grandest en- 
terprise that ever stirred the human heart — the enterprise 
of proclaiming to the whole of this ruined world the 
glorious gospel of salvation. 

As intimated above, my sister Margaret, who had 
shortly before that period, renounced the world and de- 
voted herself to her Lord, had become very much inter- 
ested in the subject of foreign missions, so much so that 
she fully intended entering on that work with me. When 
addressed subsequently by her future husband, she had 
objected that her intention was to go on the foreign work 
with her brother John, he instantly replied, "There will 
be no difficulty on that point." He added he would 
gladly go along with us, that before crossing the Atlantic 
he had offered his services to the London Missionary So- 
ciety, but it was considered that his constitution was 
inadequate to such a life. He became and continued for 
forty years pastor of the Second Presbyterian church. If 
the South Carolina Synod has been ever since about 1833 
peculiarly alive in some degree (but, oh ! how small that 
degree) to the claims of the foreign mission work, I here 
record what will be generally acknowledged by those who 
know best, that this has been due, through Almighty 
grace, in very large measure, to the missionary zeal of 
Dr. Thomas Smyth. My sister Susan also became very 
early interested in the idea of going on a mission, but 
her constitution forbade the carrying out of such an idea, 
and, as afterwards plainly appeared, her true vocation 
was to stay by her parents, and especially to take care of 
her father in his extreme old age. As to my loving 
mother, she never betrayed to me the slightest unwilling- 
ness to consent to what I was proposing ; she was far too 
devoted a Christian to do that. But how was it going 
to be with my father ? The most delicate and difficult 
duty of my life had been for me to address him privately 
and personally on the subject of his soul's salvation ; and 
he had listened to me kindly and heard patiently all I 


had to say ; and he had subsequently, and, I feel sure, in 
all sincerity, made a public profession of his faith in 
Christ. But here now was another delicate and difficult 
subject for me to bring before his mind, and what would 
he say about it ? He must have been aware of my being 
interested in the general subject. I had never consulted 
him respecting my entering the ministry and going to 
Princeton to prepare for it, because from my early child- 
hood it was always predicted by my godly old grand- 
mother that I was to be a minister, and that seemed to be 
always taken for granted by my father. But to go as a 
missionary to some foreign country, never to return home 
(for three-score years ago that was always understood to 
be the foreign missionary's lot, and no idea of a furlough 
to return for a year was ever thought of), this, I say, was 
a very different question from entering the ministry for 
service in this country. How, therefore, was my father 
going to receive what I had to say on this subject'^ I was 
led to introduce the subject to him in connection with 
asking his consent to my engaging myself to the young 
lady I was in love with. He had seen her frequently at 
his house with his daughter Margaret ; she had been in- 
troduced to him, of course, but he was a very busy man, 
and his personal acquaintance with her was really very 
slight. I told him of my attachment to her and my wish 
respecting her, enlarging considerably, of course, as I 
went on upon my high estimate of her character and 
merits. I saw the characteristic, merry twinkle in his 
eye, as he replied to me, "Oh ! there remain always as 
good fish in the sea as ever were caught." I remarked 
that "a fisherman always angles for the kind of fish that 
he prefers to have." When I told him that I felt much 
impressed with the idea that I ought to devote my life to 
the foreign service of the church, and that it was not 
every young lady that would be willing to go, or that 
would be qualified to go with me, he at once became very 
serious, expressing his high opinion of Miss Shrews- 
bury's character, but saying that he thought it would be 
wiser to postpone the decision of my own future course of 
life, and also of my engagement to her. He said that he 
would prefer my finishing my studies at Princeton, and 


then going to Germany for some years, that I might pros- 
ecute them there. Oh ! that father of mine ! How kindly 
his feelings always were towards me and what lofty ex- 
pectations he always cherished regarding my career. It 
often pains me to think how much I disappointed him. 
It pains me even now, and perhaps even more than it ever 
did, as I look back upon all these things through the long 
vista of many years. I had not at that time committed 
myself either to Miss Shrewsbury or to any person on the 
subject of my becoming a foreign missionary. But the 
feeling of duty within me was very strong, and an).ounted 
very nearly, though not altogether to a decisive conviction. 
I saw very plainly that the generous proposals of my 
father would completely revolutionize all my inward 
tendencies. I felt no special aspirations after eminent 
scholarship. I saw and felt that the whole world, as the 
Apostle John said, lieth in wickedness ; that there ought 
to be many, while there were but few, volunteers for for- 
eign service ; that, while I might be needed at the South, 
there was incomparably greater need in heathen lands ; 
that there was no particular obstacle, as with some others, 
in the way of my entering on this work ; and all these 
views having long and deeply impressed themselves on 
my heart, I could not easily dismiss them. I do not re- 
member in what terms I responded to my noble father's 
gracious proposition, but I hope I properly expressed my 
sense of his goodness to me. But I recollect telling him, 
as we closed the conversation, that I understood him as 
having no positive objection to my making the engage- 
ment I had in view, in case I should finally conclude on 
that step. Many years have passed and memory has not 
recorded distinctly what the words of his answer were, 
but I felt sure that he did not mean to oppose, and it was 
not long before the engagement was made. I returned to 
Princeton, and spent one year more there. In the mean- 
time, I had offered my services to the American Board, 
and was accepted, and not long afterwards was appointed 
a missionary to the Armenians. I spent the winter of 
1833 and spring of 1834 in visiting the Presbyterian 
churches of our synod, and presenting the claims of the 
foreign mission work upon them. 


Some of my ^randcliildreii, when reading the account 
I have just given, may be inclined to wonder that I did 
not confer with my father when I first began to consider 
seriously the question of foreign work. The Apostle 
Paul's example shows that there are some questions 
where we may not confer with flesh and blood. My father 
at that initial period was not a professing Christian, and 
the question with me was a question of conscience. More- 
over, both my father and my mother, whilst holding 
firmly in their hands the reins of parental authority, and, 
whilst we all looked up to them with profound reverence, 
and whilst my father especially had never laid the weight 
of one finger upon any one of his children, because one 
word from him was absolute law ; still they had, both of 
them, always encouraged us in regard to some matters to 
think for ourselves. And then I had been sent far away 
to college in the State of ISTew York for three years, and 
was afterwards far away again in JSTew Jersey at the Sem- 
inary for four years, so that I had been trained as it were 
to rely on the resources of my own judgment. In my own 
case, as a father, I pursued a somewhat similar course. 
Whilst endeavoring to instruct my children as to all that 
was right or wrong, I never tried to have them become 
mere machines. I encouraged in each of them freedom of 
thought and, to a proper extent, freedom of action. 

Becoming naturally much better acquainted with his 
future daughter-in-law after our engagement, my father 
came to be extremely fond of her, and, in fact, before very 
long, began to treat her as one of his o^vn daughters. We 
were married on the 29th day of June, 1834. The time 
drew nigh for my ordination, and in the Second Presby- 
terian church I was solemnly set apart by the Charleston 
Union Presbytery to the work of foreign missions. An 
immense audience gathered to witness the laying on of 
the Presbytery's hands. Before setting out I wrote and 
published a farewell letter to my friends throughout the 
State, giving them my reasons for the step I was taking. 
It was a day of weeping when my wife and I parted from 
her relatives and mine. My father accompanied us to 
ISTew York and Boston. So did my brother James. The 
little brig that was to carry us to Smyrna was not quite 


ready to sail. We had also some purchases for our outfit 
to make in Boston. Having no occupation whilst we were 
making our purchases, the time hung heavy on my 
father's hands. I saw that he was much distressed at the 
prospect of separation, and at last I begged him to leave 
us. He started home early the next morning by stage. 
I went down with him and saw him in the stage, and my 
brother James subsequently informed me that, as they 
started off, my father laid his hands on the back of the 
seat before him, and bowed his head upon his hands and 
wept audibly and profusely. As for me, that was the 
bitterest hour of my life — up to that period. I had left 
my mother with my father to take care of her ; but the 
thought that oppressed me -was, who was I leaving behind 
me to take care of my father ? 

The ancestors of my wife were English. Two brothers 
by the name of Stone came to this country very long ago 
from Bermuda. One of these brothers married a Miss 
Leycraft, who was my wife's great-grandmother, and 
their daughter. Miss Elizabeth Stone, for whom my wife 
was named, married John Conyers, Avho died in 1709. 
Their daughter married Edward Shrewsbury, and they 
were the parents of my wife. John Conyers and his wnfe, 
and also Edward Shrewsbury and his wife, lie in the 
Archdale Street church-yard, Charleston, S. C. 

As to the ancestry of my wife's father, Edward Shrews- 
bury, that also was pure English. Dr. Joseph Johnson, 
in his valuable volume, says two wealthy young English- 
men named Shrewsbury came to this country with one 
sister before the Revolutionary war. Edward, one of 
these two brothers, was a Royalist. He had a right to be 
loyal to his king and his owm country. Stephen, the other 
brother, was an equally earnest Whig, and bore arms in 
the Revolutionary war. Their sister was married to Jere- 
miah Dickinson. These two brothers, Stephen being the 
older, carried on, after the Revolutionary war, the busi- 
ness of ship-building on Shrewsbury's Wharf, afterwards 
known as Union Wharves. In an old list of members of 
the Charleston Fellowship Society, Stephen Shrewsbury's 
name is recorded in 1770 or thereafter. He had three 
sons, Stephen, Edward and Jeremiah. Stephen Shrews- 


bur J, Jr.'s, name is found on the list of members of the 
Fellowship Society in 1790 or thereafter. The posterity 
of Jeremiah Shrewsbury are still living in Alabama. 
Edward Shrewsbury had five children — Elizabeth Keith 
(my wife), Anne HoUinshed, John Stoney, Edward and 
Maria. Stephen Shrewsbury, Jr., married his cousin. 
Miss Dickinson. Two daughters were born to him — 
Louisa and Caroline ; Louisa, afterwards Mrs. Dr. Moul- 
trie, and Caroline, who married her cousin, Jeremiah 
Dickinson. Stephen Shrewsbury left a considerable for- 
tune to his two daughters, but in case they died without 
children it was to go to the families of his two brothers, 
Edward and Jeremiah. Stephen died in 1815, and in 
1882 the property at last came to my wife and her 
brothers and sisters, and to their Alabama cousins. I 
will hereafter give a much more full account of this 

My wife's mother was a member of the Circular 
church, Charleston. Her father was for many years one 
of a ship-building firm, when Charleston carried on that, 
kind of business. The firm was Pritchard and Shrews- 
bury. But their business declined with the decline of 
ship-building in the old city. My wife's father died of 
paralysis in his old age. He never made a public pro- 
fession of religion, but I have in my possession a long 
and very touching letter written to my wife, which bears 
very ample evidence that for some time before his death 
he was a very humble believer in our Lord and Saviour. 


Life Among the Armenians. 

THE brig Padang sailed from Boston, Massachusetts, 
on her voyage to Smyrna, Asia Minor, on the 2d 
day of August, 1834. She carried seven missionary pas- 
sengers — the Rev. Mr. Merrick, missionary to the Per- 
sians; Rev. Samuel R. Houston and wife, missionaries 
to Greece ; Rev. Lorenzo Pease and wife, missionaries to 
the Island of Cyprus, and myself and wife, missionaries 
to the Armenians. Mr. Merrick was originally from 
New England, and studied theology at Columbia Semi- 
nary. Mr. Pease was from ISTew England, and was a 
Congregationalist. Mr. Houston was from Virginia, a 
Presbyterian, and got his theological education at Union 
Seminary, Virginia, and partly at Princeton. 

The Padang had very poor accommodations for so 
many passengers, on such a long voyage. But it was hard 
to find a vessel setting out from Boston to Smyrna for a 
cargo of figs that could furnish any better. It had only 
one small cabin of four berths, with two small state-rooms 
attached. Mr. ]\Ierrick was given, of course, the main 
cabin for his accommodation. There was, therefore, 
necessary for the third married couple a small state-room 
cut off from the hold of the vessel. It allowed room for a 
double bed, with just additional space enough for one 
chair. But it was not high enough for a person to stand 
in it upright. Of the two original state-rooms, one was 
considerably better than the other, the second one being 
really very much contracted in its dimensions. We three 
young men had to determine how these three apartments 
Avere to be distributed amongst us and our wives. We 
were all very polite and unselfish, and each one of us, of 
course, declined the best state-room in favor of the other 
two. Dr. Wisner, Secretary of the Board, had charge of 
our debarkation, and overheard our talk on this subject. 


"jSTow," said he, "my young brethren, this will not do at 
all. You are none of you sea-sick yet, but when you see 
your wiv^es begin to suffer from this malady, this present 
generosity of feeling will all vanish. You must draw lots, 
and so let the matter be determined providentially for 
each one of you." We drew lots, and Houston got the 
best room. Pease second best, and my poor wife and I got 
the worst one. She was desperately sea-sick nearly the 
whole sixty-four days' passage, and sometimes I was 
afraid that her strength would not hold out to reach 

Upon our arrival there, the Eev. Daniel Temple, the 
American Board's missionary to the Greeks there, with 
Mr. Homan Halleck in charge of their printing ofEce, 
came on board to welcome us. But there came also the 
Rev. Josiah Brewer, not of that Board, and I accepted his 
invitation to go to his house, while the others found ac- 
conunodations with Mr. Temple and Mr. Halleck. We 
found Mrs. Brewer a very charming lady, and she and 
my wife immediately became very close friends, and the 
friendship continued for years until Mr. Brewer and his 
family removed to America. Mrs. Brewer was the 
daughter of an old Congregationalist minister at Lenox, 
Massachusetts. Her brother, David Dudley Field, was 
an eminent lawyer in IsTew York, and another of her 
brothers is Judge of the Supreme Court of the United 
States. Her little son, David Josiah, whom I knew in 
Smyrna as a little fellow with a big head, I encountered 
in 1890, while on my way to Kansas City, in the mag- 
nificent person of the Hon. David J. Brewer, of the 
Supreme Court in the United States, and chairman of 
the committee appointed by President Cleveland to in- 
vestigate the territorial questions between Venezuela and 
Great Britain. I happened to sit near him, and was 
attracted by his fine countenance and grand bodily 
presence. Finding out the name of this remarkable per- 
sonage, I introduced myself to him, and then introduced 
him to my wife and daughter Susan, the latter born, like 
himself, in Smyrna, to whom he expressed the pleasure 
he had in meeting one of his fellow-citizens. 

I had been sent out as a missionary to the Armenians, 


the Eev. William Goodell and the Kev. H. G. O. 
Dwight having preceded me as the first missionaries to 
that people, and the Rev. Cjrus Hamlin having followed 
me as the fourth one. But who are the Armenians ? The 
Armenians are undoubtedly descended from Japhet, the 
second son of jSToah. On no account can they be consid- 
ered either a Semitic or a Hamitic race. Their physiog- 
nomy distinguishes them from the children of Shem, and 
their color from those of Ham. The Rev. Frederick 
Davis Greene, author of the Armenian Crisis in Turkey, 
a very competent authority, says, "Their manners and 
customs, as well as their religious beliefs in heathenism, 
were similar to those of the Assyrians and Chaldeans, of 
the Medes and Persians, and still later of the Parthians." 
But it is their ancient language, among the very most an- 
cient of the whole world, which most distinctly points 
them out as the sons of Japhet. Scholars have frequently 
asserted its affinity with the Indo-Germanic tongues. I can 
affirm from a somewhat intimate acquaintance with the 
Armenian, both ancient and modern, that it has a very dis- 
tinct relation to the Latin language in the construction of 
its verbs, as well as in the termination of that large class of 
its nouns which end in tio. Yet no person hearing the 
Armenian spoken could possibly imagine that there was 
the least resemblance to the Latin in either of these re- 
spects or any other. Certainly the rough and harsh 
guttural sounds of the Armenian language would utterly 
forbid his entertaining such a thought. This feature of 
the language is not at all due to its being, as commonly 
now spoken by the people, so much mixed with Turkish 
words, because the Turkish language deals comparatively 
in smooth sounds. 

The Armenians trace their history to the very remotest 
antiquity. Their original country is referred to in Gen- 
esis as Ararat, the mountain where l^oah's ark rested 
after the flood. In 2 Kings xix. the parricidal sons of 
Sennacherib are said to have fled to Armenia. Ezekiel 
also speaks of Tyre being furnished with horses and mules 
from the land of Togarmah, and the tradition of the Ar- 
menians, as I have myself heard it stated by the highly 
educated amongst them, derives their descent, as well as 

LIFE AMO:SJG THE arme:n^iaj:^s. 93 

their name, from this same Togarmah, a son of Gomer, 
one of the patriarchs of the Japhetic line. 

Armenia was included in the conquests of Alexander 
the Great, and afterwards submitted to the rule of Syria. 
In 190 B. C, when Antiochus the Great was defeated by 
Scipio, Armenia gave refuge to the exiled Hannibal. 
Armenia lying between the Persian and the Roman Em- 
pires, was continually preyed on by both, and the Roman 
historian, Tacitus, says that her people "were almost 
always at war ; with the Romans through hatred, and 
with the Parthians through jealousy." Under Theodo- 
sius the Great, 390 A. D., Armenia was divided between 
the Romans and Persians. Subsequently it was divided 
between the Greek Empire and the Saracens. But in 
lO-iS the whole eastern frontier was laid open to the 
Seljouk Turks. In 1071 A. D. the whole of Asia Minor 
lay at the mercy of the Seljouks. At the close of the 
fourteenth century Timour the Tartar devastated the 
whole of Armenia. In 1605 Shah Abbas, of Persia, 
transplanted twelve thousand Armenian families to 

The history of the Armenian church dates back to the 
commencement of the third century. As early as the time 
of Tertullian, who lived about 201 A. D., there were 
flourishing communities of Christians in Armenia, who, 
towards the close of the century, endured much persecu- 
tion from the Persian fire-worshippers. But in 302 
Gregory Loosavoritch, i. e., "The Enlightener," became 
the apostle of the Armenians, and converted the whole 
nation. But before this time Christianity had largely 
degenerated. The simple preaching of the gospel, and a 
purely spiritual worship had given place to the practice 
of external rites and ceremonies, and to discussions about 
the refinements of theological speculation. Gregory him- 
self partook largely of the monastic spirit of his time, 
and it was more than one hundred years after this before 
Mesrob invented their alphabet, and, with Isaac, his 
teacher, translated the Scriptures into their language, 
and this ancient version still exists, standing very high 
in the esteem of all scholars. 

But three-score years ago the Armenian people gen- 


erallj were unable to read this translation of the Scrip- 
tures. Accordingly, there prevailed an almost universal 
ignorance of the fundamental truths of the gospel. The 
evangelical doctrine of faith was unknown. Faith was 
with them a receiving of whatever the church teaches. Of 
justifying faith they had hardly even heard. They were 
taught to confess the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, 
but they knew little of the sanctifying power and grace of 
the Holy Spirit. ''What must I do to be saved ?" was to 
them an unnecessary question, since all baptized persons 
are saved already. And so their whole knowledge of 
Christ was to learn when and how to make the sign of the 
cross, when and how to fast, what church feast days to 
observe, how often to confess, and when to receive the con- 
secrated wafer from the priest's hands. 

The Armenians have a regular hierarchy, consisting 
of nine distinct orders, its head being the Catholicos of 
Etchmiadzin in the Caucasus. The business of the priest- 
hood is not to instruct the people, but, to a large degree, 
to perform certain ceremonies, which had, however, in- 
herently a power to save the soul. The original idea of 
the Christian ministry is totally lost. Priesthood has 
taken its place ; sacrificing and sanctifying have driven 
out preaching. Well-nigh absolute are the powers of this 
priesthood. Baptism is essential to salvation, and yet 
baptism belongs to the priest. He transubstantiates the 
wafer into the body, soul and divinity of Christ. The 
people must both eat and worship this wafer ; and so an- 
other essential to salvation is also in the priest's hands. 
Confession to the priest is another essential. Thus they 
keep the conscience of the people. From time to time 
they probe the wounds made by their sins and must re- 
main masters of all their secrets. They also pronounce 
the pardon of the sinner. Finally, they hold the terrific 
power of excommunication. Under this sentence a man 
is not spoken to by any one, none buy at his shop, l^one 
dare sell or give him food. His spirit, when he dies, is 
shut out from the kingdom of heaven, and his l)ody is 
denied Christian burial, i^ay, more, it never consumes 
in any grave, but is possessed of an evil spirit, which 
causes the accursed excommunicant to wander about at 
night and allows him no rest. 


The Catholicos at Etchmiadzin is, as I have said, the 
ecclesiastical head of all the Armenians. But the Arme- 
nian subjects of the Sultan are represented at his court 
bj an officer called the Armenian Patriarch. This is al- 
ways a bishop, who pays a large sum into the Sultan's 
treasury for his official position and political and ecclesi- 
astical power. He sells bishoprics to reimburse himself 
with a large profit. Bishops must sell priesthoods to re- 
imburse th^iselves with a profit, and the priests must 
reimburse themselves by charges on the people for their 
priestly functions. Great is the power of the Armenian 
ecclesiastics. But perhaps the real lords paramount 
among these people are the rich Armenians of Constanti- 
nople, who are the bankers of the Sultan and all his 
pashas, and therefore able to make their power felt 
through all the empire. 

Such was the condition of the Armenian people and of 
their ecclesiastical and political affairs sixty or seventy 
years ago. The reader who desires to know what progress 
has been made amongst them during this period, by the 
blessing of God, from the labors of American missionaries 
and other good influences, may turn to Appendix A of this 
volume, where is presented a trustworthy, yet remarkable, 

In the year 1894 the Turkish Sultan Abdul Hamid per- 
petrated a massacre of the Sassoun villages of Armenians 
below the city of Moosh, in ancient Armenia, at which 
the civilized world was made to stand aghast. That was 
one of a series of such barbarous acts of cruelty and op- 
pression towards a subject race as history has seldom 
recorded. In Appendix B of this volume the reader will 
find some account of these atrocities. 

Considered as men, the Armenians are a sober, temper- 
ate, thoughtful, industrious, patient, persevering race. 
Of a genius decidedly commercial and manifesting every- 
where a growing spirit of patriotism, they bear a stronger 
resemblance to the Anglo-Saxons than any other Oriental 
people. They are not void of courage, and have well 
learned fortitude in their long school of suffering. They 
have little taste for either music or poetry. They are not 
so light-minded, imaginative or versatile as the Greek; 


less dull and sluggish than the Turks ; less degraded and 
wretched than the remnant of Israel, that other peeled 
and downtrodden people. Like the Jews, they are also a 
scattered race. Very numerous in ancient times, the 
desolating wars of long ages in the past and the cruel 
massacres they have been suffering in recent times have 
greatly reduced their numbers, so that their population 
cannot now exceed four million. It is computed that 
2,500,000 are under the Sultan, 1,200,000 in Kussia, 
150,000 in Persia. Westward they have proceeded to 
Trieste, Venice, Vienna and Amsterdam, and probably 
there are not less than seven thousand in jSTew York. !N"u- 
merous in Constantinople, and also all through Asia 
Minor, especially in its central portion, they are also to 
be found in Syria, and, in fact, they are dispersed 
throughout the continent of Asia from Constantinople to 
Calcutta, and as far eastward as Batavia, in Java. It is 
this fact of their wide dispersion that constitutes the im- 
portance of the Armenians as a field for evangelical Chris- 
tian labor. The gospel in its purity and power accepted 
by this race, scattered among so many nations, would 
constitute a leaven that should strongly aid in leavening 
all Asia. 

Having thus elaborately answered the question, Wlio 
are the Armenians ? I proceed to speak of Messrs. Goodell 
and Dwight, my predecessors in the Armenian work. 
They were stationed at Constantinople, and their work 
was amongst the many thousands of Armenians in that 
great city. Before their arrival, there had begun to be 
manifested in Constantinople a spirit of earnest, religious 
inquiry amongst some young men of the Armenian people. 
The Rev. William Goodell, stationed at Constantinople 
before Mr. Dwight came, had a more general commission, 
but could communicate with the Armenians through his 
knowledge of Turkish, with which all the Armenians are 
familiar. Two young men, Hohannes and Senekerim 
by name, had called on him, desirous to learn Protestant 
doctrines. As soon as Mr. Dwight came and was able to 
speak the Armenian language they became his disciples, 
and brought him others of like spirit. He had a room in 
a khan, in one of the bazaars, and usually spent his days 


there conversing with all who came with their inquiries 
to hear the gospel from him. 

My first business was to learn the Armenian language, 
and mv wife and I began the study of it together under 
the instruction of a young Armenian of Smyrna, who 
proved an incompetent teacher, and I soon obtained a 
really efficient instructor. He was a character. He had 
lived all over the Eastern world, and knew his own lan- 
guage well, besides some others. He gloried in the title 
of "Yussef Eifendo," that is, "Joseph my lord." He 
gave us a ffood start in the language, had a good head on 
his shoulders, and keen, bright eyes, but his person was 
very disagreeable, it was the abode of no less than three 
different kinds of inhabitants. My wife had to be very 
careful, every time he took his departure, to sweep all 
around the hard bottom chair on which he sat, as well as 
the chair itself. After awhile Mr. Dwight sent to me 
Baron Barkis, that is, Mr. Sarkis, one of the evangelical 
Armenians, who had begun to multiply around him. 
This young man was a gentleman and a scholar, and also, 
we had good reason to believe, a truly enlightened Chris- 
tian. He lived in my family, and he taught me Arme- 
nian while I taught him English. We soon began the 
work of translating, in which we continued to labor 
together until, after several years, I saw him pass over 
Jordan, a bright and joyous believer. He died of con- 
sumption. His physician, of English descent, but born 
in Turkey, very skillful and eminent in his j^rofession, 
practised the Oriental habit of cheering up the very sick 
with false hopes. Contrary to the doctor's wishes and 
prophecies of evil, I plainly told Sarkis what was his true 
condition, as the doctor had made it known to me. The 
next time I met him, his report of the patient was de- 
cidedly favorable. "Dr. Wood," said I, "you told me it 
would be fatal to Sarkis if I should plainly inform him 
that his days were numbered, and now you confess to me 
yourself that he is better." Dear Armenian brother, the 
doctor's kindly, but untrue, assurances were almost daily 
contradicted by his own experiences, and so he was kept 
painfully moving up and down on a sliding scale of the 
doctor's own invention. The correct information, which 


I communicated very gently, but very plainly, brought 
his soul into a condition of steadfast, confident, hopeful 
quietude. He had no fear of death. Many were the 
pleasant talks we had together about our future home in 
the Father's house on high. Among the books we had 
translated together into his o^ai language was the Pil- 
grim s Progress. How his countenance did light up when 
I said to him, "Sarkis, you are going to meet old John 
Bunyan !" So, when I reminded him that he would see 
Paul and Peter and John, and, above all, that he would 
meet, face to face, his Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, the 
dying believer's eyes plainly expressed the joy that filled 
his soul. 

My friend Sarkis Hohanissean, that is, the son of 
John, was such an Armenian scholar as was quite rare 
amongst his nation in Constantinople. He became also 
a thorough English scholar. I could set hardly anything 
in our own tongue before him of a construction too diffi- 
cult for him to transfer, in plain and simple words, to 
his own language. His only fault as a translator for the 
Armenians was a tendency to the use of a somewhat too 
scholarly style. The popular language of the Armenians 
was very much corrupted by being mixed with Turkish 
words, and these Sarkis, like every other intelligent 
Armenian, abhorred. They were so many badges of his 
people's ignorance and servitude to the Moslem. That 
the vocabulary of the modern Armenian should widen, as 
well as become j^urified, if education was to make any 
progress amongst the people, was just such a necessity as 
had been felt amongst the Greeks, when their modern 
language, narrowed down to slender limits by centuries of 
barbaric ignorance, had begun to open and spread itself in 
the expression of knowledge and thoughts and ideas long 
buried amongst them. It has not required quite a century 
to bring back modern Greek, among the educated of that 
nation, to full equality, perhaps, with the language of 
their forefathers, when Greece was "in its glory's prime." 
The same prospect lay before the Armenian people. 
Their language must have words dug out from the disuse 
of centuries under whose ruins they were lying buried, 
because they had need of those words to express the new 


ideas they were beginning to entertain. Sarkis knew 
this, so did all the few intelligent scholars that remained 
amongst them. So did the Armenian missionaries, and 
therefore we were tolerant, of some degree, of that eleva- 
tion of his style, which the scholarly taste of Sarkis could 
not help indulging. 

But, as our work advanced, I found it necessary to ob- 
tain another translator from Constantinople. His name 
was Baron Arisdages. But his surname also my memory 
cannot recall. He, too, was a very fine Armenian scholar, 
not in all respects, however, equal to Sarkis. He some- 
what lacked the finished culture of his comrade, though 
he was very competent. With Baron Arisdages I began 
the work of translating, first, the ancient Armenian New 
Testament into the modern language. The Armenians of 
Asia Minor had never seen the New Testament in a lan- 
guage they could well understand, except that a few 
copies had found their way amongst them of a translation 
that was made in the East Indies under Baptist mission- 
ary auspices into the modern Armenian dialect, as spoken 
in that region, differing considerably from the form of 
dialect used further west. 

The ancient Armenian New Testament was translated 
A. D. 410-431. Its reputation, amongst the ancient ver- 
sions, stands very high, being second only to the old 
Peshito, or Syriac, version. Its originator seems to have 
been the Patriarch Isaac, but the chief executor of the 
work was that eminent scholar, Mesrob, and two assist- 
ants, whom he sent to Egypt to acquire thorough Greek 
scholarship. I can testify from my owm knowledge of the 
version that it has one remarkable feature of similarity 
to our received Greek text, namely, the order in which 
every word occurs. I was often led to remark how com- 
pletely the Greek idiom was followed in its collocation of 
words. Our translation from this ancient version into 
fnodern ' Armenian was made by my helpers, Sarkis and 
Arisdages. As they proceeded, I was reading our Greek 
text, and occasionally appending a note, where the old 
Armenian seemed to differ from the Greek. This trans- 
lation, after many years, was revised, and, no doubt, im- 
proved, by my eminent colleague, the Rev. Elias Riggs, 





aided bv the best native scholarship. Some twenty-five 
years ago Dr. Cyrus Hamlin, visiting me at Columbia 
Seminary, said that there had then been as many as three 
hundred thousand copies of this modern Armenian New 
Testament circulated among the Armenians all over the 
continent of Asia. The Armenian people, like the Jew^s, 
are a scattered race, from Constantinople to Calcutta. 
They are to be found all over the greater Asia, including 
Persia, Tartary and India, in little groups of here a few 
families, and there a few more. The whole Armenian 
population cannot be much more than four millions, but, 
permeating, as they do, the whole Asiatic population, if 
they can once be evangelized, the gospel leaven will leaven 
the whole mass. It is this that constitutes the supreme 
importance of Armenian missions. 

Upon the death of Sarkis, who had been my helper in 
conducting a monthly magazine of useful knowledge, 
largely evangelical, and in translating various other pub- 
lications, such as the Assembly's Shorter Catechism, and 
various religious tracts, relating to gospel doctrine, 
adapted to popular reading, I had been obliged to get a 
third translator from Constantinople. His name was 
Muggerdich Tomasean, that is, ''Baptist, the son of 
Thomas." Arisdages did not live in my family, for some 
reason which I cannot recall, though he was a stranger in 
Smyrna, and had no family. But Baptist, the son of 
Thomas, had a room at my house and ate at my table. He 
was a good Armenian scholar, and learned the English 
language speedily, but he had the literary acquirements 
of neither Sarkis nor Arisdages. His style of writing 
in Armenian was better suited to the popular apprehen- 
sion. He was an earnest Christian believer, and had a 
burning zeal for the religious enlightenment of his peo- 
ple. With his help we published, amongst other things 
of the kind, a translation of a simple evangelical cate- 
chism, which Dr. C. C. Jones had published, and used 
very profitably amongst the negroes of Liberty county, 
\ Ga. Baptist Tomasean had no sooner seen this book, and 
learned to read a few pages of it, than he became very 
urgent for its preparation to be used amongst his people. 
We did not translate it literally, but largely, as Dr. Jones 


had written it. ^Ye made it the basis of a popular cate- -^ 
chism of Scripture doctrine. It was a great success. It/ 
was exceedingly popular among the Armenian brethren, s- 
and many copies of it were called for, and, I feel sure, ' 
were very useful. It proved to be exactly adapted to the • 
existing condition of religious ignorance amongst even 
intelligent Armenians. 

(N. B.) Since I wrote these words I have found, 
amongst my old letters, one from Dr. Riggs, dated Con- 
stantinople, September 29, 1860, from which I make an 
extract, which has a peculiar significance at the present 
date, ]^ovember 13, 1896, when Turkish and Kurdish 
atrocities are arresting the eye of the civilized world : 
"We trust that the reformation, in which we have been 
permitted to bear a part, is preparing the country gradu- 
ally for the political changes which imay be in store for it. 
No civil government can make a people happy without the 
fear of God, and no misgovernment can make them en- 
tirely wretched where that blessed element exists. When 
fifteen hundred or sixteen hundred assemble (as they do) 
weekly in the Sabbath-schools of both Aintab and Mar ash, 
to study the Bible and Jones' Catechism, it is impossible 
that the communities around them should remain sta- 
tionary. There is essential progress, though it is far 
from being all that we could desire." 

This reference to work, in the execution of which, 
fourteen years previously, I had borne a part, was exceed- 
ingly cheering to me. Dr. Riggs' statement makes it 
evident that thirty-six years ago there were in Marash 
and Aintab, cities far in the interior of Asia Minor, 
fifteen hundred or sixteen hundred of the population of , 
each city, gathering together every Lord's day to study 
the Scriptures and Jones' Catechism, originally prepared ■ 1%^ 
for the slaves of Liberty county. How much these more 
than three thousand believers must, with the blessing of, ■ 
God, have increased during these thirty-six years, and 
what a great work of preparation must have been thus 
effected for a patient endurance of the fearful calamities, 
which the Sultan's misrule and the indifference of 
European governments, were to bring upon the poor Ar- 
menians ! 



The spirit of religious inquiry was rapidly spreading, 
especially amongst the Constantinople Armenians. Some 
of the better educated Armenians, who were opposed to 
the pure truths of the gospel which we were disseminat- 
ing, began a counter work of publication for their people. 
They issued attacks upon our teachings in the form of re- 
ligious f)amphlets, and the brethren in Constantinople 
prepared replies, sometimes translated in Constantinople, 
but more frequently by us at Smyrna. The printing was 
done at our press. Thus I came into the necessary em- 
ployment of another helper, one Muggerdich Papasean, 
that is, "Baptist, the son of Papas," a young man of 
Smyrna, educated in their language by his older brother, 
Andreas Varjabed, the head professor, as his title signi- 
fies, of the Armenian College in Smyrna. Andreas Var- 
jabed was himself a thoroughly educated Armenian 
scholar. His young brother. Baptist, soon became a truly 
enlightened Christian believer, and a very earnest co- 
worker in spreading the truth throughout his nation. 
Shortly after my return to America from Smyrna, this 
young man died of consumption. The other Baptist, 
Muggerdich Tomasean, had previously departed this life, 
and the decease of both, I do not doubt, was their entrance 
into a higher sphere of service for their Lord. 

It had begun to be manifest that, through the blessing 
of God, there was commencing among the Armenians, 
though, of course, on a very small scale, a work very 
V j much like the Reformation of the sixteenth century. 
^ There were the same antecedent conditions ; a nation 
that had been nominally Christian for long ages, but who 
were perhaps totally ignorant of gospel truth ; they had 
no legible Scriptures — they were generally as incapable 
of reading the word of God in their own ancient language 
as they were of reading the Hebrew or Greek Scriptures ; 
the Christianity they knew was a religion of mere cere- 
monies ; it was, in fact, a religion of idolatry, for, while 
eschewing the worship of graven images, they l)owed 
do\vn and worshipped before pictured likenesses ; it was 
in simple truth Mariolatry, for their trust was in the 
Virgin, and Christ was altogether hidden behind his 
mother; the Armenian priesthood closely resembled that 


of the Koman Church when Luther arose; and, finally, 
there had come to prevail the same spirit of religious in- 
quiry, and of dissatisfaction with their church. This 
was especially true at Constantinople, but it seemed to 
prevail, in some degree, very widely. I should have 
added that the Armenian patriarch, bishops and priests 
had begun to manifest the same persecuting spirit which 
insjiired the Romish clergy three centuries ago. Accord- 
ingly, it was felt to be desirable that the Armenian priest- 
hood, and also the Armenian inquirers, should be made 
acquainted with the history of the Lutheran Reformation. 
The man whom I named, in a previous page, as head of 
the Armenian Academy, or College, at Smyrna, that is, 
Professor Andrew Papasean, was a good French scholar, 
and I also was familiar with that language. Accord- '^ 
ingly, we began the translation of D'Aubigne's History of c 
the Reformation. I took a copy of the edition put forth 
at Paris and Geneva in 1838, and carefully abridged it ^ 
in such a manner as to shorten much the history without 
much injury to its value. Professor Andrew translated 
the abridgment into Armenian, and then, together, we 
carefully went over the Armenian and French, consider- 
ing both the abridging and the translating work. It con- 
stituted two respectable volumes in the modern Armenian 
language. This was almost the last work of my twelve 
years of labor among this peoj^le, for shortly after this 
was finished, I had to return home to the United States. 
Dr. Hamlin, when visiting me at Columbia Seminary, as 
mentioned before, said that the work had proved accepta- 
ble and useful. 

My chief business, as missionary to the Armenians, 
being the management of the press in modern Armenian, 
as has already been made to appear, I was consequently 
very much confined to my desk, revising the work of my 
translators, and reading proof sheets, as they came from 
the printing office. Accordingly, I had little time to visit 
amongst the Armenians of Smyrna. They were indeed 
but a few thousands, and whenever any man of their 
nation ventured to visit me, he was immediately marked. 
Nevertheless, as soon as I was able to speak the language 
fluently, I always attempted a Sunday service in Ar- 


menian. Usuallv I had one or two Armenians, besides 
mj three or four translators, to hear me expound the 
Scriptures. Occasionally I would have several strangers. 
Quite seldom did my little congregation amount to eight 
or ten, but one Sunday I actually had a large congrega- 
tion which numbered sixteen ! 

We always had preaching in English at the Dutch 
Chapel, where a considerable congregation of the English, 
French Protestant, and Dutch colony would assemble. 
The summer time I usually moved my family out of the 
city four miles to the little Turkish village of Boujah, 
where a number of Europeans and Americans congre- 
gated, and to them I constantly preached on the Lord's 
day, and also of a Wednesdav evening. Some summers 
we went to Bournabat, which was seven miles from the 
city near the gulf shore. Five miles of the seven we had 
to be rowed in a little Greek caique; the other two we 
rode on donkeys. From Boujah I would ride in to my 
daily work on horseback, or perhaps on the back of a don- 
key. It was on donkeys that our ladies usually rode with 
the owner of the animal running by her side with one 
hand on the bridle, and the other hand behind the cum- 
brous big Turkish saddle, holding a sharp goad, with 
several rings attached to the goad. Sometimes he would 
stimulate the donkey with the goad, though frequently it 
was enough just to jingle his rings. Those patient little 
beasts of burden were very quick in their motions, and 
would whirl round very suddenly, thus unseating even a 
male rider. The native women always rode astride ; 
but our ladies, having only the Turkish saddle to sit on, 
found it necessary to have the driver at their side helping 
them to keep on. 

We had arrived in Smyrna early in October, 1834. On 
the first day of the following June our first child was 
born. We named him after my father. He died on the 
15th day of April, 1837. Our second son was born on 
the 2d of June, 1836, and we named him after two of my 
brothers. He died on the 4th of June, 1837. Thus in 
seven weeks both were taken, and we were left childless. 
These dispensations we felt to be very severe, but they 
did certainly afterwards yield to us the peaceable fruits 


of righteousness. As to myself, religion became a new 
experience to me, awakening within me far deeper and 
tenderer emotions than it ever before produced. As at 
Princeton Seminary, I received, as it were, a new con- 
version, so was it here and now. When my first-born died 
I was overwhelmed with grief, but my aged colleague, 
the Rev. Daniel Temple, perceiving my distress, told me 
I should probably live to consider this the greatest bless- 
ing of my life. His words were fulfilled. AVhen the 
second boy died we were totally unprepared for it. I 
was sitting in the basement room of our little Turkish 
cottage at Boujah, on Saturday, June 3d, writing a ser- 
mon on the text "God is Love," which I was to preach 
next day to the little English and American congregation. 
I little thought that in the "Love of God" we were about 
to experience another painful bereavement. But, in his 
good and wise providence, it was so ordered. At mid- 
night our only remaining child was taken from us. . . . 
I added a little to my sermon, and on Sunday morning 
I was enabled to preach it. There was no Protestant 
church building then at Boujah, but a suitable lot had 
been purchased, and a chapel was about to be erected. In 
that lot we buried our infants in one grave alongside of 
the one where we had shortly before assisted in depositing 
the remains of the wife of the Rev. Eli Smith, missionary 
to Beirut. No Christian church building can be built in 
Turkey without a special permit from the Sultan at Con- 
stantinople. Every effort to obtain this permission failed 
in this case. After a delay of some months, the Protes- 
tants purchased a dwelling house that had lately been 
erected, which, with some inside alterations, would con- 
stitute a very commodious chapel. To this the Turks 
would make no objection. That lot being enclosed, and 
graves being dug there for our purposes, Mr. Smith and I 
repaired at midnight, took up our dead, and they were 
buried in their new resting-places. Subsequently, I had 
a tombstone put over my children, with our names and 
theirs inscribed, and also their ages, and then this 

epitaph — -. 

" Asleep in Jesus ! ) 

To wake with all that glorious band, \» 

The martyrs of this solemn land." A^ 


I took this couplet of lines from a very sweet poem 
which Miss Hamilton, of Scotland, who had become 
greatly attached to our little James during his sickness, 
had written respecting him. It was published in Scot- 
land with her poems, and a beautiful copy of them sent 
to me, but Tecumseh Sherman burnt it, with the rest of 
my library in Columbia. 

Our iirst-born son, James, was baptized by Rev. Daniel 
Temple, on the afternoon of a T^ord's day in the Dutch 
Chapel at Smyrna, 1835, and his brother, Robert William, 
was baptized by the Rev. Josiah Brewer on Friday even- 
ing, 1st of July, 1836. Mrs. Eli Smith, of whom I 
spoke above, had spent the last days of her suffering life 
with us in our little Turkish cottage. She was a Miss 
Landman, of Connecticut, a highly gifted lady; had 
passed some years of her life in Beirut, Syria; was fa- 
tally ill with consumption, and, with her husband, was 
on her way home to die there ; on the way from Beirut 
to Smyrna they were cast away, the vessel was wrecked, 
and there being no way of departure from the desert spot 
where the shipwreck occurred, Mrs. Smith had to lie ex- 
posed on the beach more than one day and night. Reach- 
ing Smyrna at last, she was brought from the city to us at 
Boujah, where she died, in the same little chamber where 
our James had passed away, and her husband being 
called out at the moment for some reason, it was my 
privilege to close her eyes in death. This is no unfair 
sample of missionary life. 

There were two somewhat remarkable features in the 
death of this eminent missionary woman. After con- 
sciousness had ceased a good while, her dying moans, all 
at once, gave way to what seemed to be the march of a 
h^inn tune in two lines, though, of course, there were no 
articulate words. We looked at one another, and whis- 
pered, "She is singing." "Yes," said her weeping hus- 
band, "she hears the heavenly choirs, and is trying to sing 
in unison with what she hears." This certainly was quite 
impressive. Then it was a somewhat remarkable assem- 
bly who witnessed this scene. Besides the Americans 
present, there were several Armenians, one or two Greeks, 
one English lady, and one man of the Druses of !Mt. 


Lebanon — a mongrel Mohammedan and heathen people. 
He had come as a servant with Mr. and Mrs. Smith. 

Our third child, named Sarah Anne, after my mother 
and my wife's sister, was born at Smyrna, Sej)tember 4, 
1837, and was baptized by the Rev. Eli Smith. The next 
summer, my father and mother, with my sisters, Susan 
and Jane Anne, and my brother William, were all in Eng- 
land, and in July we started with our babe, ten months 
old, and Yanoula, that is, Joanna, a Greek girl, her nurse, 
to go, at my father's expense, and meet them there. I had 
taken the precaution weeks beforehand to ride out seven 
miles from Smyrna to Sevtheekeoy, a little Greek village, 
to get the consent of Yanoula' s mother for her to go with 
us. She had been the nurse of our first two boys, as well 
as little Sarah Anne. With one exception she was the 
only Greek we had personally known who never would 
tell a lie. We were greatly attached to her, of course, and 
so she was to us. Her old mother cheerfully consented. 
Nevertheless, on the day of our embarkation, as a measure 
of needful prudence, I took my family as early as possible 
on board the French steamer on which we were to sail. 
Leaving them there, I went on shore to wind up some 
little matters of business, and amongst them to see the 
American Consul, Mr. David Offley, and get my pass- 
ports. I found quite a tumult in the city. The Greek 
priest at Sevtheekeoy had heard that we were taking Ya- 
noula to England. He inferred that she was to be made 
an English, or an American, or a Protestant girl, these 
three terms being synonymous with him. He raised a 
storm about the old woman's ears, brought her into 
Smyrna to take the girl away from us. Reaching the 
city, he stirred up the Smyrna priesthood, and they 
stirred up quite a crowd of their people, so there was a 
great commotion. Even the American Consul, partly of 
Greek blood himself, and no friend to us missionaries, 
took part in the fuss, and remonstrated with me against 
my transporting this Greek girl to America. I assured 
the gentleman that I was not going to America, and that 
the girl should be brought back safely in three or four 
months. So then I took a caique, and went on board the 
ship. I found that Yanoula's mother, and perhaps her 


priest, but certainly a number of her excited people, had 
gone out to the French vessel to bring the girl back. They 
wanted to go on board for her, but only the mother was 
permitted to ascend. Then followed a scene. The old 
mother interviewed her daughter, commanding, persuad- 
ing, beseeching her to go back with her. To all this Ya- 
noula was deaf. Finally, the old mother solemnly pro- 
nounced a curse on her daughter, as she took her depar- 
ture. Yanoula stood firm to the end, all that she said 
throughout the whole affair was, ''You told the chelehi 
and the kokona/' that is, the master and the mistress, "that 
I might go with them, and now here at the last I am not 
going to disappoint them." 

Such is the power which the priests wield over the 
ignorant people. Yanoula knew very well that her 
mother's curse was not denounced sincerely — she only 
spoke it from fear of the priest. 

Poor little Sarah Anne had noj; altogether recovered 
from her attack of the measles. She became quite sick on 
the voyage. At Hiat period all passengers from the Le- 
vant desiring to enter Europe must perform a quarantine 
of three weeks at the island of Malta. Accordingly, we 
were shut up in one of the old stone forts built by the 
Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, viz., the Castle of St. 
Angelo. It was a splendid fortress, kept in the very best 
order, but without any armament. We had delightful 
apartments all built of solid masonry. We were fur- 
nished with whatever we desired from a restaurant kept 
outside of the fort, sat in our cool, shady room during 
the heat of every day, and walked at our pleasure on the 
ramparts at eventide. Our sole companions were a young 
English gentleman, named Hardy, and his friend, whose 
name I forget. Our imprisonment was not very disagree- 
able, except for the sickness of our little girl, who seemed, 
day by day, to grow gradually more fec])lo. 

Having obtained what they call pratique, that is, our 
quarantine being over, and being released from the Castle 
St. Angelo, we proceeded on our way to Marseilles. The 
baby did not improve ; nevertheless, when we reached 
France, we judged it best to proceed. We got as far as 
Avignon, in a French diligence. There I was able to 


find a carriage that had come from Paris, and was to be 
sent back. I engaged it at once, and we then set out 
"travelling post," that is to say, we took advantage of 
the French system of Pastes, obtaining fresh relays of 
horses continually. In this way we travelled night and 
day, and made- rapid progress. Passing a rope from one 
corner of the carriage above our heads, to the opposite 
corner diagonally and back again, and putting a couple 
of sticks, a foot and a half long between the ropes, and 
then passing a folded sheet round the ropes thus separ- 
ated, we constructed a pretty comfortable hammock for 
the sick baby, on which she lay quietly just as long as the 
carriage moved on. At Lyons, both the child and her 
mother being very sick, we Avere delayed two or three 
days at the Hotel Provencial. I called in a French physi- 
cian, by name Pernolet. He was a Roman Catholic. Our 
case as Americans, and as missionaries coming from 
Smyrna, the mother and the babe both sick, seemed to 
interest him very much. I managed to converse with 
him in my broken French, and I was greatly moved by all 
his kindness to us. Moving on at length from Lyons, we 
were placed, first, in a small steamer crowded with pas- 
sengers, which conveyed us to a larger one, on board of 
which we then em])arked. The crowd, as soon as they 
embarked, rushed for the breakfast table, and filled it. 
We, moving slower, had to wait till they had finished. 
Then they turned to see us sitting there with our sick babe 
on its mother's laj). Evidently their commiseration was 
excited. It was not long before a French priest ap- 
proached me, and, supposing the child to be dying, asked 
me if I would like him to baptize it. I replied that I was 
a Protestant minister myself, and the child had been bap- 
tized. He bowed politely and retired. I felt quite sad, 
and was sitting behind my wife, with my hand covering 
my eyes, when, after a short interval, he returned, carry- 
ing oil, or perhaps water, in a little cup behind his back, 
and then unperceived by me, as he passed by the mother 
and the child, he just made the sign of the cross on its 
forehead, and moved quickly off. My poor wife was very 
indignant, but I told her he meant kindly, believing, as 
his church teaches, that unbaptized children are all lost 


forever, that our babe was not truly baptized, and that 
bv this act of his, this stolen baptism, he had actually 
saved the baby's soul ! 

After awhile I made the acquaintance of a gentleman 
and his wife who spoke English. They proved to be 
Protestant travelling missionaries employed by their 
brethren to go about amongst the Roman Catholic people, 
giving them instruction in the true faith. We had a good 
deal of conversation, and I told him about the stolen bap- 
tism. Subsequently, the zealous priest got this gentleman 
to introduce him to me, and after a few common-place 
words, he politely requested my name and address, saying 
it would be a pleasant souvenir to him. Of course, I gave 
it to him, and he pencilled it on his little memorandum 
book. I have no doubt that our little Sarah Anne, the 
child of a Protestant minister, was in due time reported 
to the proper authorities as having been properly baptized 
by him, amongst all the other little children whose salva- 
tion he had thus been the means of securing. 

We quit the steamer in the afternoon at Chalons, and 
pursued our sorrowful journey towards Paris. We 
passed through Autun, and when we drove into the hotel 
yard at Auxerre, I was greatly astonished and much de- 
lighted to meet there my venerable father. Hearing that 
we were on the road with a sick child, a perfect stranger 
in France, and knowing nothing of the language, he had 
still, in his fatherly kindness, ventured to set out to meet 
us far in the interior. At the very commencement of his 
lonely journey, he had happened to sit alongside of an old 
Frenchman, and the kind old lady his wife. They per- 
ceived he was a stranger, and took charge of him. There 
were frequent changes to be made in the mode of the 
journey, and at every one of these his conductors, with 
the politeness characteristic of the French, would see to 
it that he got a good place. The old lady, especially, 
would beckon to him with her hand, saying something to 
him in French, and he, following her, would say, "Oui, 
oui," which was all the French he knew, and then all 
three of them would have a laugh together. 

Our chartered carriage was in need of some slight re- 
pairs at Auxerre, and the workman made rather an ex- 


tortionate charge. Xot an adept in speaking French my- 
self, I was hardly able to deal with him in his language. 
I had learned in Turkey at what a disadvantage this al- 
ways puts a disputant. Whenever a Turkish porter, who 
had carried a load for me on his pack, undertook to charge 
me more than was due, I always began to use the English 
language on him, and he was generally quite discomfited 
at once, and would give up the argument, and depart with 
a just payment in his hand. I was inwardly amused 
when I saw my father try this plan with the French black- 
smith. Shaking his doubled-up fist at the man, the old 
gentleman, considerably roused by his injustice, broke 
out thus, "If ever I catch you in my country, I will do 
you this same way." Nevertheless, he paid the bill, and 
we departed. Reaching Paris, he took us to the Hotel 
Meurice in the Rue de Rivoli. From Paris we went to 
Havre, and took steam to England, and then by rail to 
Birmingham. There again, after some weeks, we were 
left childless, September 9, 1838. Our little one, enclosed 
in a coffin filled with gypsum, and then placed in another 
box, was sent across the Atlantic, and buried in my 
father's family plat in the Second church grave-yard, 
Charleston. We all went down to Liverpool, and were 
lodged with our friends, John Bones and lady, at the Star 
and Garter Hotel. My brother James, having just ar- 
rived from his travels in Egypt, my father took him and 
me over to his native country. We went to Dublin, and 
then Belfast, went through the County Antrim, visited 
Dunean, where my grandfather lived and was buried, 
also Moneynick and Randallstown, and thence to the 
Giants' Causeway, and after that, back again to Tiver- 

When the time came for my brother William to leave 
the party and return home, we called a cab, after the clock 
had struck seven in the morning, and putting his trunk 
into it, my brother James and I set off with the cab for 
the quay, my father putting a shilling into my hand to 
pay the cabman. He, with my brother William, were to 
walk down together, having to call somewhere on the way. 
xVrrived at Scotland yard and the dock, we would have 
sent William's trunk on board, but the cabman would not 


give it up, demanding an extra shilling, on the ground 
that he was called before seven. I quietly said, "Wait 
till the gentleman who engaged you comes down, and then 
we'll settle it." There Avas quite a crowd of spectators. 
When the others got do^vn, I told my father what the 
cabman said, and that he wouldn't give up the trunk. The 
Irish blood in the old man rose at once, starting forward 
through the crowd, he said, "Where is the fellow ?" My 
brother James saw the storm arising, and felt it was time 
for him to interfere. With his strong, muscular arms, he 
laid hold on poor, little Paddy, and sent him flying some 
ten feet away from the trunk. The hot Irish blood cooled 
off the instant James laid hold, and father cried out, 
"James, let the man alone." I stepped out of the crowd, 
and beckoned to a policeman up at the office, who came 
down at once, and, hearing what we said, took the cabman 
under arrest to the office, where he said we could find him 
when ready. William and his trunk went on board, and 
the ship departed. The policeman named an hour when 
a magistrate would be present, and we could have satisfac- 
tion for the cabman's misconduct. My father's Irish 
heart had softened as soon as he saw the big, burly Eng- 
lish policeman leading off his little countryman a pris- 
oner, and so no sooner had the policeman made his state- 
ment than the Irish hand found its way to a pocket, and, 
slipping several shillings into Paddy's hand, he told the 
policeman he would enter no complaint, and the cabman 
went away rejoicing. 

The day approached when the Charleston party were 
to set sail. It had been settled that my wife's state of 
health required that she should accompany them. I felt 
it was necessary that I should return to my work in 
Smyrna. My father had taken a great fancy to our 
Greek nurse, and urged Yanoula to go with her mistress 
to Charleston. Probably she would have been willing, but 
I had said that she would return from England. It was 
a sorrowful parting for my wife and me. They sailed 
away, and I set out alone for my Eastern home. ISTo, my 
brother James accompanied me as far as Paris, and from 
thence I had the charge of good, faithful Yanoula, all the 
way from Paris to Marseilles in a diligence, and thence 


on a ten days' voyage by French steamer to Smyrna. 
They had promised me at the diligence office that we had 
plenty of time to catch the next steamer, but it was with 
no little consternation, that, on reaching the highlands 
above Marseilles, I could see the French steamer setting 
out on her voyage. I was condemned to a ten days' so- 
journ in a French hotel at Marseilles, with this young 
woman on my hands. I found that she needed my pro- 
tection constantly. I had to interfere on her behalf in 
the hotel. On the steamer, likewise, the same thing oc- 
curred, she being in the second cabin, and I in the first. 
During my ten days' stay at the hotel, I had to provide 
her a room next to my own, and also to have my food fur- 
nished three times a day in my own room, with one table 
set for myself and another for her. When she got home at 
Sevtheekeoy, she had a hard time ; she was never to be 
allowed to hire to an American or English family again. 
I never saw her but once more, but she carried with her in 
her separation from her mistress and me all the instruc- 
tions my wife had given her, and also the modern Greek 
Testament she had taught her to read. 

After some fifteen months, the separation becoming no 
longer tolerable, we met again in Liverpool in January 
or February, 1840, my wife bringing with her Miss 
Maria Shrewsbury, and our third little son, about one 
year old. They sailed direct from Charleston. John B. 
Adger, Jr., was born in Charleston February 7, 1839, 
and was baptized at Boujah by the Rev. Elias Riggs June 
18, 1840. 

To meet them I had taken the French steamer at 
Smyrna, passed another quarantine alone in the Castle of 
St. Angelo, reading McCrie's Life of John Knox and 
other histories of the Reformation. Again landing at 
Marseilles, I travelled post, in company with three young 
Scotchmen returning home from India on furlough, and 
then from Havre to Liverpool. 

Stopping awhile in London, my family and I took an 
English steamer back to Smyrna. Arriving there in 
April we went to Boujah for the summer. I rode in every 
day, and worked with my translators till evening. One 
day in August, 1840, my donkey fell with me, and fell on 


me, hurting my right knee. My physician insisted on as 
much rest for the knee as was possible, and I had to blister 
it, first on one side and then on the other, for the eight 
folloAving months, and did not go at all to Smyrna, but my 
manuscripts and proof sheets were sent to me daily at 
Boujah. In my house I used a crutch ; when I had occa- 
sion to go about Boujah I rode on a donkey. One Wed- 
nesday evening after preaching as usual to English and 
American residents there, I rode up to the house of a 
dying English friend, Mr. Samuel Barker, for one of my 
accustomed visits to him. His brother, Mr. Benjamin 
Barker, was agent of the British and Foreign Bible So- 
ciety, and kept a depot in the city, of their books. The 
Barker family consisted of several sisters, and one more 
brother, Mr. Henry Barker. They were of English de- 
scent, but their forefathers were old residents of Smyrna. 
Mrs. Samuel Barker was of the French Protestant family 
of La Fontaines. She was an eminent Christian woman, 
full of faith, and devoted to prayer for her sick husband. 
He had been ill for months of consumption. She had beg- 
ged me to break to him gently, but very plainly, what was 
his true condition, for, like most consumptives, he was by 
no means aware of it. I had complied with her request, 
and did, gently, but very plainly, make him understand 
that he was a dying man. He received my communica- 
tions very kindly, but evidently did not believe what I 
said. He then turned the tables on me, and being some 
twenty years my senior, began to give me, very kindly, 
but very decidedly, his opinion as to the great impro- 
priety of a young minister speaking so plainly to a sick 
man about his o^\^l death. My visit on that occasion did 
not seem to have made the desired impression on his 
mind, but his faithful Christian wife was at that very 
time, and always wrestling with God in prayers for her 
husband, not so much that he would give him life, as that 
he would give him "length of days forevermore." I 
visited him repeatedly. He was a man of excellent moral 
character, universally respected in Smyrna, but he was 
utterly ignorant of the gospel, although baptized in the 
English Church, and a regular attendant at its services 
in the chapel of the British Consulate at Smyrna. He 


had heard sermons there by good chaplains, and had 
j)iously joined in repeating the responses through all the 
beautiful prayers of the English Church, ever since he 
was a boy, but he had never learned that he was a sinner, 
who could be saved only through grace. When I talked 
with him of our transgressions, which could only be 
washed away by the blood of Jesus, he heard me as one 
speaking to him in an unknown tongue. When I talked 
to him of being born again, he received it just like Nico- 
demus, with, ''How can these things be ?" The idea being 
presented to him that we could not be saved of ourselves, 
but only through another, and that none of our good deeds 
or good words could be accepted by God except through 
the Mediator, he protested that he had never heard such 
incredible things as I was stating. When I said to him, 
"Why, Mr. Barker, don't you close every prayer with 
the words, 'For Jesus Christ's sake ?' or with others just 
like these ?" he would answer, "Oh ! yes, I know that, but 
that is only a form of words that we are taught to use." 
!N"otwithstanding all this dense ignorance, I would remem- 
ber how earnestly his wife was pleading for him, and I 
could not but hope and believe that the Spirit of God was 
applying the truth to his heart. 

At the Wednesday evening lecture mentioned above, I 
had expounded Colossians, first chapter, from twelfth 
verse to twenty-second inclusive. When 1 got to j\lr. 
Barker's sick room, I took the same passage of Scripture, 
reading and explaining it to him. Two or three of his 
sisters stood at his bedside, no one of them probably 
knowing any more of the gospel than he did. His wife 
was not present. I think I knew well where she was, and 
what she was doing at the time. I called Mr. Barker's 
attention to the necessity of our being made meet for the 
inheritance of the saints in light, and of our being deliv- 
ered from the power of darkness, and translated into the 
kingdom of God's dear Son ; and how Jesus had made 
peace for us by the blood of his cross, and how those who 
were alienated from him by wicked works, and enemies 
in their mind to him, he does now reconcile in the body 
of his flesh through death in order to present them holy 
and unblameable and unreprovable in the very sight of 


God. When I had explained these things, I heard a voice 
from the dying man's pillow, crying out, ''Mr. Adger, is 
that what you say I must believe in order to be saved r' 
I replied, "Yes, Mr. Barker, that is it," and I then re- 
peated several other passages in quick succession where 
the same precious, saving truth is set forth. "Well, then," 
said Mr. Barker, "if that is what I must believe, I do be- 
lieve it." His wife's prayers had been answered. It was 
as if I had thrown a rope to a drowning man, and he had 
seized it, and I had seen him seize it, and been rescued. 
Mr. Barker lived about three weeks. Hitherto he had 
been naturally a man of very few words. His tongue 
had now been loosed ; his native taciturnity was all gone. 
I may say, literally, that he spent all his remaining life, 
henceforth, telling the good old story of the gospel to all 
that came about him. Alas ! they certainly did not all 
understand what he said, else one of his sisters had never 
said what was reported to me, viz., "When I am dying I 
want some one to come and tell me what Mr. Adger told 
my brother, for it made him die so happily." 

January 1, 1841, our second daughter and fifth child 
was born at Boujah, and was named after her mother, 
Elizabeth Keith. She was baptized at Boujah by Rev. 
Henry Van Lennep. 

In April, 1841, our translation of the jSTew Testament, 
from the ancient version into the modern Armenian lan- 
guage, having been completed at Smyrna, I took it with 
me to Constantinople, that I might carefully revise it, 
with the aid of some of the best native Armenian talent 
that I could command there. The annual meeting of our 
mission, when all the missionaries assembled at the cap- 
ital, was to be held the following month. Expecting to 
be detained there the whole summer with my revision. 
my family accompanied me to the annual meeting. I was 
still using my crutch Avhen I walked, and my knee was 
still feeling, to some degree, the effects of my fall. I 
walked up to see Dr. Dawson, an eminent English surgeon 
and physician-i, sent by the British government to show the 
Sultan how to establish a good hospital. He advised me 
to lay aside my crutch, and, leaving it in the entry at his 
boarding house, I walked immediately perhaps a mile, 


and had no more trouble with my knee. The annual 
meeting was held very soon after that. Our babe took the 
varioloid from the children of Mr. Johnson, of ISTorth 
Carolina, missionary at Trebizond. Mr. Johnson was a 
Presbyterian, a godly man, and very useful missionary, 
both by his preaching to the Armenians, and by some doc- 
trinal tracts for them which we published at Smyrna. 
From little Lizzie her mother took the varioloid, and I 
was her sole nurse. Her case was a serious one, though 
still only varioloid, and she was very much reduced. Mr. 
Dwnght, with whom we were lodging, suggested that, on 
account of the extreme heat of the weather, and my wife's 
slow recovery, we should take a little Turkish koolah — 
that is, a miserable cottage, with a little miserable garden 
attached, on one of the hills outside the city — seven miles 
from his house, and remove both our families there. He 
would come in every day to his work at his room in the 
khan previously mentioned. I would go on with my Kew 
Testament revision, the Armenian reviser joining me 
daily in the garden. In that little Turkish garden, seated 
on a rug on the ground, under a very insufhcient little 
shade tree, he and I went on with our work. My wife im- 
proved daily quite fast, drinking every day a glass of 
porter, and breathing the fresh air of the hills. After 
being there about a week, I saw red spots on the back of 
each of my hands, which I attributed to the heat of the 
sun and insulficient shade. This was on Saturday. On 
Sunday Mr. Dwight and I walked in to his Armenian ser- 
vice held at his house. I preached in Armenian to his 
Armenian congregation of about one hundred persons. 
We dined at Mr. Goodell's house, which was nearby. 
About an hour after dinner, I began to feel very faint ; it 
was time to start for the koolah, and I, not being able to 
walk, we went to one of those numerous places in the city 
where men stand with horses ready saddled for hire. We 
mounted, but every mile my illness increased ; still I had 
no suspicion of what was to happen. The next day, Mon- 
day, I lay all day on a bench in the little garden, and an 
old Armenian friend named Oscan, whom we greatly 
valued, came and sat by me for several hours. Evening 
came at last, and brought increased miseiw to me ; still I 



suspected nothing, though suffering all over unspeakably. 
Our bed was on the floor under a window. With the early- 
dawn I saw what the matter was, my hand was covered 
with pustules. As soon as possible we procured a Turk- 
ish ox-carriage, and, with my little family, I was slowly 
carried back to Mr. Dwight's house. Next day (Wed- 
nesday) delirium came on, and continued till the second 
Sunday morning, when I was awakened by the cries of 
the hucksters passing along the streets under my windows 
with their vegetables. I had small-pox of the confluent 
kind, over my whole body ; one pustule covered the whole 
back of each hand. I had become a black man. My head 
and neck were dreadfully swollen, and my nostrils stop- 
ped up, Maria Shrewsbury, with my two children, and 
their nurse, were conflned to the third story of Mr. 
Dwight's house, and my wife was my nurse. One Greek 
friend, by name "Panayotes," so-called in honor of the 
Virgin Mary, one of whose idolatrous titles is "Panagia," 
which means the All Holy, a most excellent Christian 
brother, who had had the small-pox himself, assisted my 
wife in the care of me. This good man, being an excellent 
Turkish scholar, was aiding Mr. Goodell in translating 
the Bible into Armeno-Turkish — that is, into the Turkish 
language, Avritten with Armenian letters, for the use of 
Armenian readers, who are all familiar with that lan- 
guage. The good and dear Panayotes was one of the only 
two Greeks whom I ever learned to know intimately that 
would not tell a lie, the other one being our baby's nurse, 
the Greek girl Yanoula, spoken of before. Mr. Dwight's 
servant man, an Armenian, by name Hatchadoor (which 
means "Devoted to the Cross") also had had the small- 
pox himself, waited on my wife during our hour of trial. 
There was also a young Scotchman, not very long resident 
in Constantinople, a clerk in some English house of busi- 
ness. He had become a Christian under the influence of 
the missionaries, and was devoted to them. He came, 
and was with us for a day or two when we first got back 
from the koolah, and in the zeal of his first Christian love, 
he was willing to risk his life in waiting on me through 
my illness. Of course, however, this had to be early for- 
bidden. Our physician was Dr. Stamatiades, a Greek 


who had studied in America, and a kind, competent and 
faithful young man. But he was desirous of bleeding 
me. Dr. Dawson, the English physician before named, 
had also been requested to come and see me. He did so, 
but strongly condemned the idea of bleeding. He said it 
would be fatal to me. After my delirium passed away I 
began to recover. I was forty days confined to my room. 
In my inexperience, full of ardor in the work committed 
to me, I began with my manuscripts before I was able to 
get out, thus inflicting serious and lasting injury to my 
already impaired sight. When sufficiently recovered, we 
went over, under the care of the Rev. Henry Holmes, a 
missionary brother, to Broosa, one of the chief cities of the 
interior, for a visit to the missionaries there. We returned 
to Smyrna about October, 1841. I was able to attend in 
some measure to my work, but was an invalid for eighteen 
months, every day sensibly gaining a little, and so learn- 
ing by experience how many degrees there are between 
extreme illness and perfect health. The winter of 1842 
my dear friend and fellow-missionary, the Rev. Simeon 
Howard Calhoun, one of l^ature's noblemen, and a ripe 
and experienced Christian man, boarded in my family in 
the city. He was agent of the American Bible Society in 
the Levant ; afterwards became a missionary of the 
American Board in Syria, but passed over Jordan many 
years ago. I look forward to a meeting with many men 
of God whom I have known and loved in this world, but 
few they are whom I am more desirous of meeting again 
than Simeon Howard Calhoun. That same winter we 
entertained, as a guest at our house for several months, a 
most excellent young minister of the Church of England, 
to whom both my wife and I became greatly attached. 
He was a son of the well-known Ca?sar Malan, an eminent 
man of God at Geneva, Switzerland. I suppose the ex- 
treme views on some points of doctrine of his venerable 
father had a good deal to do in driving the young man 
into the English Church. He was in bad health, and was 
spending the winter in our mild climate for that reason. 
He had a wonderful aptitude for learning languages, and 
I cannot recall how many various tongues of men he had 
become considerably acquainted with. He took hold of 


the modern Armenian with great avidity, and before 
he left us became quite an adept in that hinguage. He 
must have continued his studies in Armenian after his 
return to Enghmd, because in 1868 he published the Life 
and Times of St. Gregory the Illuminator, translated 
from the Armenian. He was very high Church in his 
notions ; and it was instructive as well as amusing to be 
present at the tilts, usually at our dinner table, between 
young Malan, the accomplished scholar and perfect Chris- 
tian gentleman, and my earnest and zealous, but no less 
accomplished and competent Puritan friend and brother, 
Calhoun. These things belong to over fifty years ago. 
Malan and Calhoun, differing so much here, yet loving 
and admiring one another so much in this world, I doubt 
not, are often walking together the golden streets of the 
new Jerusalem, where I hope, ere very long, to walk with 

Being myself so much of an invalid, and our baby, 
Elizabeth Keith, being very sick that summer, I moved, 
with my family, to Bournabat about March, 1842, my 
proof sheets being daily brought out to me. We chose to 
go to Bournabat instead of Boujah, for variety, and be- 
cause it was pleasant sometimes to get within two miles of 
it by being rowed in a boat. The baby grew very much 
worse as the summer came on. One day, lying on her 
mother's lap, while I anxiously looked at the child, we 
thought we saw her breathe her very last, but she breathed 
once more, and I said, ''Let us instantly get donkeys, 
ride to the landing with her, take a caique, and go across 
the gulf to Mr. Cohen's koolah, on the hills outside of 
Smyrna." From the time that we started the child im- 
proved, and on those hills she almost entirely recovered. 
I must tell a little about my friend Cohen. He was what 
is called "a converted Jew," and, as such, had been at- 
tached to the Jewish mission work in Smyrna, under the 
Rev. Mr. Bewis. AVhether he was really a converted man 
or not, he had a great many admirable qualities of char- 
acter, and we were devoted friends. His wife, when a 
very little child, escaped somehow the massacre of her 
parents in tlie Island of Scio, when they, with almost all 
the other Greeks of that beautiful island, were put to 


death by the Turks. This child was taken to Smyrna 
and sold as a little Greek slave to some benevolent peo- 
ple ; was sent to Ireland, and there educated in the Eng- 
lish Church, and after returning to Smyrna was married 
to John Cohen. They were an estimable couple, and 
during my fifteen months' solitude in Smyrna, when my 
wife was in America, I had got them to come and live at 
my house for a considerable part of the time when I 
boarded with them. 

Having intimated a doubt as to Mr. Cohen's being 
really a converted Jew, I ought to add that he certainly 
did suffer a great deal of persecution from his own people 
on account of his Christian profession. There were 
twelve young Jews, of whom he was one, that had been 
baptized by clergymen of the Church of England, by 
name Leeves, if my memory serves me, a short time before 
I landed first in Smyrna. They were confined in a Turk- 
ish prison (or perhaps it was a Jewish prison) called the 
Bagnio, and I rather think they had to submit to the bas- 
tinado, that is, to being beaten on the soles of the feet, a 
most cruel punishment, and afterwards they were ban- 
ished to Kaisarieh, the ancient Cffisarea, in the centre of 
Asia Minor, about forty days' journey from Constanti- 
nople. Add to this that, of course, they were renounced 
forever by their parents. All these sufferings they hero- 
ically endured for the name of Christ. I knew John 
Cohen intimately, and have often heard him talk of this 
history. I knew one more of the tAvelve, named John 
Baptist, very slightly, and I recollect nothing particular 
about his career. All the others, as I was well informed, 
subsequently made it manifest, by their lives and conduct, 
that they had not been converted to Christ. One of them, 
at least, became a Turk, and the rest lived disgracefully. 
And so we see it is no positive proof, as is commonly sup- 
posed, that a man is a real believer because he suffers 
much for his Christian profession. He may afterwards 
be led to forswear it. He may seem to begin in the spirit, 
but he may finish, as the Apostle expresses it, in the flesh, 
"having suffered so many things in vain." 

As I have spoken of John Cohen, I must not omit all 
mention of my other friends, the Rev. Mr. Lewis and his 


lady. They were Irish folks from the city of Cork, be- 
longing to the Church of England. I was very intimate 
with Mr. Lewis, as was my wife with Mrs. Lewis, a very 
admirable woman. He came to the East as a missionary 
to the Jews, but was, I think, unsuccessful, and subse- 
quently became British chaplain at Smyrna. Somehow 
he did not get along very well with my New England mis- 
sionary colleagues, but he was a great friend of mine. 

We spent a month or more with the Cohens at their 
koolah. Erequently at night he was visited by Turkish 
soldiers, who were maintaining some kind of guard not 
very far oif, and he would get them to perforin some of 
their Turkish military dances. We returned in June to 
Bournabat, and we remained there during the mild and 
pleasant winter. Our third daughter, named Anna 
Maria, after her mother's two sisters, was born there, 
March 22, 1843. She was baptized by my friend, the 
Rev. Simeon Lloward Calhoun. My health greatly im- 
proved at Bournabat, and about the month of October we 
returned to the city. The demand for our books was in- 
creasing very greatly, and I was encouraged to push my 
work of translation and publication to my utmost ability. 
All the more because of the long period of my feeble 
health. I was then almost thirty-three years old. But, 
as 1 look back fifty-three years, I see, and am amazed at 
my want of prudence. But we had a great object set be- 
fore us. It was becoming more and more evident, as I 
have before stated, tliat, amongst the Armenian people, 
there was beginning a reformation, in very many respects 
just like the great Reformation of the sixteenth century. 
It was on a small scale, of course, but the people in both 
cases were just alike as to their spiritual condition ; they 
were both nominally Christian, but the Bible did not 
exist for either of them in a language which they under- 
stood. In both cases it had to be translated and pub- 
lished. In both cases a few earnest souls had been 
awakened. In both cases the light began to spread, the 
number of inquirers to increase, and more and more we 
were called on for the means of still further instruction 
and advancement. In both cases the ecclesiastical power 
sought to put down inquiry by persecution, and in both 
cases the effect of this was to rouse more of the people to 


seek after the truth. Not one man amongst the mission- 
aries but felt a mighty impulse to do his best in these 
exciting circumstances. For myself, I was moved fre- 
quently to continue my work to a late hour at night. I 
remember on one occasion, with poultice on my right eye 
on account of a sty that was troubling me, I found my- 
self at eleven o'clock at night still working with the other 
eye, over Armenian manuscripts, though they are spe- 
cially trying to the sight. 

During the ensuing winter we had a visit from the Rev. 
Dr. Anderson, Secretary of the American Board, who 
was accompanied by the Rev. Dr. Hawes, an eminent 
jSTew England pastor. They came on an official visitation 
to all the missionaries of the Board in Asia Minor and 
Syria. Having finished their inspection of things in 
Asia Minor, they were ready in March, 1844, to set sail 
for Beirut. While sojourning at my house. Dr. Anderson 
had observed that I was overtasking my lately recovered 
strength. He said to me, "You must go with us to Jeru- 
salem." He said to my colleagues, "If Mr. Adger does 
not break off again for awhile, he will be in America in 
about twelve months." My wife accompanied me, and 
we took little Anna Maria and her nurse. We all went by 
steam to Beirut. Thence we were to travel on horseback 
to the Holy City. Our little one and her faithful nurse 
we committed to the care of our kind friend, Mrs. W. M. 
Thompson. Her husband was the man, my class-mate at 
Princeton, who first interested my heart in the foreign 
missionary enterprise. I bought a nice pony horse and 
side-saddle for my wife, and a tall grey steed for myself. 
A Miss Watkins, from Hartford, Conn., joined our party, 
and so the deputation, with Mr. Calhoun and the Rev. 
Eli Smith and Mr. de Forest and his wife, made our cav- 
alcade, in number, nine persons. We had to carry tents 
to lodge in by night, and Mr. Smith took with him Yusief 
Ul Rus Jvulla, with his pans and pots, who was to cook 
for the party. However, we had started rather early in 
the spring, and so we had frequent rains on our way down, 
which compelled us to seek lodgings instead of tenting 
at night. Our first day's journey brought us to Sidon, 
where we saw the tomb that is said to be that of the 


prophet Jonah. Thus far, we had travelled on the coast ; 
we now turned towards the interior, and came to Beth- 
saida and Capernaum at the head of the Sea of Tiberias, 
where there is nothing to be seen excej^t one solitary 
room built of brick, upon entering which we were all at- 
tacked by the inhabiting fleas, and were glad to make 
our escape immediately. The whole country seems to be 
filled with fleas. We spent Sunday at the town of Tibe- 
rias, where the natives say the king of the fleas has his 
capital. It was rather amusing on Monday morning to 
see the two doctors from America trying to pick off hun- 
dreds of them from their blankets. Still Tiberias could 
not help being a city of profoundest interest to us all. 
Here was the water on which the Saviour walked, and 
here was the shore where he flrst called four of his disci- 
ples, and these Galilean towns were the chief scenes of 
his wondrous words and work. There seemed to be but 
one boat at use on the lake. Our lodgings were at a 
so-called hotel, and we dined and breakfasted as we might 
well suppose, on fish lineally descended from such as the 
apostles caught in their nets. We passed through Cana 
of Galilee on Monday, and spent that night at Nazareth, 
where our Lord was brought up, being entertained by a 
Greek family, friends of Eli Smith. At that house we 
saw in use several of those "water pots of stone, after the 
manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or 
three firkins apiece." Leaving Nazareth, we passed by 
Mt. Tabor, stopped awhile at the city of Samaria, saw 
the well on which Jesus sat, and the very piece of ground, 
no doubt, which Jacob gave to his son Joseph. There 
could be no doubt about this piece of ground, because the 
mountains and the plains remain just as they were in our 
Saviour's time. At length we reached Jerusalem. Dr. 
Anderson was anxious to be the first one to enter the city, 
but my horse was better than his, and I denied him that 
honor. Here we found a missionary of the Board, a 
Charlestonian, like myself, Kev. John F. Lanneau, and 
his wife, who was a Miss Gray, from Beech Island. I 
cannot detail all that we saw in and around Jerusalem, 
which made a pleasing, yet solemn impression on the 
heart. There were many things pointed out by the monks 


and other natives which we knew to be their mere in- 
ventions. But such things as the Valley of the Kedron, 
and most probably the Garden of Gethsemane, and the 
Mt. of Olives, were there just as nineteen hundred years 
ago. We were in time for the grand show which the 
Greeks and Armenians display on Easter Sunday at the 
so-called tomb of Christ. There is a small enclosed 
building which covers the alleged tomb, and the Greek 
and Armenian bishops open the door and go in there 
alone, and then send holy fire outside through apertures 
in the wall. The Latins, the Greeks and the Armenians 
each have a church building opening in common at this 
tomb, and thousands of people assemble in the galleries, 
which rise one above the other, so that multitudes were 
present to witness the miracle. The Romish Church for 
a long time had disowned this miracle, and accordingly 
their bishop took no part in it. We all stood high up 
among the spectators, looking down sadly upon this 
"Christian" superstition. Each one had a sheet or a 
night dress, or some other article, or even, perhaps, a 
towel or handkerchief, which he desired to have sanctified 
by these holy fiames, and he expected to be buried in these 
consecrated articles. And each one held a candle in his 
hand. As soon as the two bishops within the Holy Sep- 
ulchre were ready to thrust out the sacred light, the most 
favored persons that stood by got their candles lighted, 
and then, in much less time than it takes me to write this, 
every candle in these galleries was lighted, and the house 
was filled with a holy smoke. An earnest devotee would 
pass his hand through the flame of his candle and say it 
did not burn. My friend Calhoun, a big, strong man, 
grasped the hand of one such devotee, and made him hold 
it in the flame until he squealed from pain. For hours 
before the bishops had entered the tomb, it was sur- 
rounded by a crowd of devotees. But they could not be 
serious for so long a time ; consequently one would be 
lifted up and put upon the shoulders of the crowd, and 
thus would go creeping on their heads around the tomb ; 
not seldom offence would be given and taken by some, and 
there would be a little fight, and then one of the Turkish 
guards, placed there by the government to keep order 


amongst these Christians, would ply his long horhash, and 
come do^\Ti with sharp lashes on their unruly shoulders. 

From Jerusalem we went down to the Dead Sea, having 
a guard of Turkish soldiers, because that country is still 
infested with robbers. Long before reaching the Dead 
Sea we could see that we were approaching it. The 
country had a horrid look, just as one might expect to see 
it, from the description of the destruction of Sodom and 
Gomorrah by fire from heaven. Thence we visited Jeri- 
cho, and saw the beautiful stream which proceeds from 
the fountain which Elisha healed, and which runs down 
and enters the Jordan just above the Dead Sea. 

Returning to Jerusalem, our party divided, Drs. An- 
derson and Hawes, with Mr. Calhoun and Rev. Eli 
Smith, undertook a detour through the Hauran, which 
would occupy more time than I could spare, and more 
fatigue than my strength would admit, not to speak of 
our three ladies, so Dr. and Mrs. de Forest, with Miss 
Watkins and my wife and myself, determined to return 
at once to Beirut. We took a somewhat different 
route on our journey back, passing through the Val- 
ley of Esdraelon, beautifully covered, by the spring 
weather, with wild flowers of various colors from many 
different plants. The whole land looked like one vast 
carpet of red, green and blue hues spread out before us. 
We were able to tent out every night. Our journey being 
more direct and no rain interfering with us, we accom- 
plished it in ten days. We spent one delightful Sunday 
near the ruins of old Tyre at Ras-el-ain, or the head 
fountain. Here there issues from the sand of the shore 
an immense body of spring water, which has been en- 
closed within strong stone walls in the form of an octagon, 
and, as well as my memory serves me, at least ten feet 
high, and sixty or seventy feet in diameter, the water 
passing off through a stone aqueduct into the sea. It is 
a very ancient piece of masonry, and is credited to Hiram, 
king of Tyre, the friend of Solomon. ^N"© doubt the water 
comes from the bosom of the mountain, finding its way 
down below the shore, and forced up from amongst the 
rocks there to the surface. The walls enclosing this mag- 
nificent fountain are several feet thick, so that we could 


walk all around and view it from above. I have spoken 
of it as one fountain, but not far distant there were two 
others just like this one, only smaller. The day we spent 
there was fine. We pitched our tents amongst the green 
grass, which grew luxuriantly. On the one side of us 
were the mountains of Lebanon, where Hiram's servants 
hewed out the great stones for the temple at Jerusalem, 
and on the other side of us was the sea, upon whose bosom 
he floated down these rocks to Joppa, and thence found 
means, somehow or other, to transport them up to Jeru- 
salem. We busied ourselves all the day in reading the 
Old Testament Scriptures, which give an account of all 
these things. Returning to Beirut, we found little Anna 
Maria quite well and overjoyed to see us. Her exceeding 
great delight the little thing manifested very touchingiy 
to us in standing, just for a moment, at her mother's knee, 
and then crossing over and standing with me, just for a 
moment, and so, from one of us to the other, for a long 
time, crossing and re-crossing, until she had worn out her 
happiness. We got back to Smyrna in the month of May, 
but we were required to pass a quarantine of a month, two 
or three miles from the city, down the gulf. Maria 
Shrewsbury and our little John and Lizzie frequently 
came down to cheer us, but at last we got home again to 
them and to our work. 

Our fourth daughter, Susan Dunlap, was born in the 
city of Smyrna February 6, 1845, and was baptized by 
the Rev. Thomas P. Johnson. Shortly before this event, 
our dear Maria Shrewsbury began to be indisposed, and 
the indisposition increased upon her daily. There was 
more or less of typhoid fever in the city. I wished to 
send for Dr. Wood ; she objected stoutly. There were no 
symptoms alarming me ; she was simply languid and pre- 
ferred to lie on the sofa without moving about much. 
This continued day after day. Several times I said to 
her, without really feeling any fear myself, "Maria, you 
must let me call Dr. Wood ; this may be the beginning of 
typhoid fever." Still her unwillingness to have the doc- 
tor called continued and increased. Her indisposition 
having lasted about ten days, her sister meanwhile being 
all this time very unwell and remaining upstairs in her 


chamber, I became at last quite alarmed, and then my 
wife joined me in insisting positively that the doctor 
must be called. When he came he told me that we had 
lost too much time, that the case was decidedly typhoid 
fever. He required her to take to her bed, and began to 
treat the case vigorously, but could not break the hold 
which the fever had secured. She was a great favorite 
with everybody, and we had plenty of friends to assist in 
nursing her. She rapidly grew worse. Delirium came 
on, and in a short time death closed the scene on the 11th 
day of January, 1845, to our unspeakable loss. We 
buried her in the graveyard of the Dutch Consulate, and 
a marble tombstone marks the spot. 

She was a noble woman, had made a profession of her 
faith publicly in the Second Presbyterian church, 
Charleston, along with other new converts, just before 
coming to Smyrna with her sister. She naturally missed 
the many and various means of grace to which she had 
been introduced during a revival season. The experi- 
enced Christian who becomes a missionary feels this loss 
when he first enters upon his new life. Besides his closet 
and Bible and the family altar, and the weekly prayer- 
meeting of the missionaries, and possibly one weekly 
public service in English, he has no helps, such as abound 
in his native country, where Christian intercourse on all 
sides is at all times to be constantly enjoyed. Here was 
a young and inexperienced believer suddenly cut off from 
almost all outside assistance. What is a very serious ex- 
periment in a confirmed believer when he quits a Chris- 
tian country and goes out into the darkness, is a very 
dangerous experiment for the young Christian. How 
soon Maria began to feel its effects I cannot say. They 
first began to be observed by me when I noticed a repug- 
nance manifested by her to some of the doctrines of the 
Bible. Every Sunday I was expounding the Epistle to 
the Romans at a service in English in my house, which 
a number of persons, including my translators, attended. 
Some of the truths set before us by the apostle, Maria felt 
that she could not receive. She had superior powers of 
mind, like her two sisters, and she began to reason against 
Paul's doctrine. Her own discovery of her opposition 


to the Word of God made her begin to doubt whether she 
was a Christian. Had this occurred to her at home, where 
Christian influences would have surrounded her on all 
sides, these temptations to unbelief by the arch-enemy 
might have been more easily overcome, but she was out in 
the darkness, and to a considerable degree was standing 
solitary and alone. I tried often to help her, but did not 
succeed. I said to her that I ought to remind her my 
view of Paul's meaning was not accepted by all Christian 
believers. Many good Methodist people, and intelligent 
ones too, interpreted him differently from me. "But," 
she replied, "I see with my own eyes that you do correctly 
apprehend his meaning, so that I can't take any comfort 
from Arminian errors of interpretation." Mr. Calhoun, 
who admired her greatly, sought to relieve her mind, but 
in vain, so did other missionary brethren. The trouble 
with her was that she saw distinctly the absolute sov- 
ereignty of God, as Paul sets it forth, and, as her heart 
did not cheerfully bow to that sovereignty, she could not 
hope that she was a true Christian. The darkness which 
enveloped my dear young sister grew deeper continually. 
At last, as she told me, she gave up all reading of the 
Bible and praying. She continued in this fearful condi- 
tion for some months. At length, in the mercy of our 
Lord, the darkness began to abate a little. Gradually, 
though very slowly, she was brought out of it, and light 
shone into her soul and peace with the light, the dreadful 
temptation was at an end, and she was again a cheerful 
Christian believer. All this preceded, by several months, 
the indisposition which ended so fatally. She had always 
been, ever since her arrival in Smyrna, the object of pe- 
culiar affection on my part. I loved her as my own sister. 
The dreadful darkness which had come into her soul made 
her an object likewise of intense solicitude on our part. 
When, therefore, her sister being still confined to her bed, 
I stood by myself at Maria's dying bedside, and saw her 
breathe her last, my heart said, "God be thanked that I 
have seen you at last safe over the river." 


Visit America for a Year, but my Return was not 

Allowed. — What Followed. 


THE two years which followed our return from 
Jerusalem, in June, 1844, were perhaps the busiest 
of mj missionary life. Our modern Armenian N^ew 
Testament, after careful revision, had been printed and 
published, and sent into wide circulation. So had the 
translation of the Psalms into modern Armenian, pre- 
pared by Mr. Dwight and myself. There had begun, 
especially in Constantinople, quite a controversy between 
intelligent Armenians, who adhered zealously to their 
o^vn church views, and the missionaries there. The doc- 
trines of grace set forth on our side were vigorously op- 
posed. So there were numerous tracts and pamphlets 
produced in the discussion, the missionaries using our 
Smyrna press, , and their adversaries establishing one of 
their own at Constantinople. Every month we issued a 
sermon, by some one of our brethren, adapted to the times. 
The Magazine of Useful Knowledge, which I edited, a 
large part of it religious matter, was appearing every 
month. My time was chiefly occupied, however, with 
abridging, and, with Andreas Varjabed's assistance, 
translating D'Aubigne's History of the Reformation in 

It was a period of agitation in the Armenian mind, of 
which we were doing our best to take the advantage. This 
agitation had, indeed, begun years before. When the 
truly great Sultan Mahmoud died, in July, 1839, his em- 
pire was on the brink of ruin. He had massacred the 
Janizaries, the rulers of previous Sultans, but their de- 
struction required him to organize an army of soldiers 
like those of Europe. His navy liad been in a very re- 
markable way, to the astonishment of both Europe and 


Asia, destroyed by the English fleet at J^avarino. He 
had built and sent forth a new one, but his rebellious vas- 
sal, lEehemet Ali, had beaten his army of eighty thousand 
in Mesopotamia, and treacherously got possession of his 
navy. At this very time, Malimoud, of the eagle eye and 
the iron will, departed this life, and Abdul Med j id, his 
son, sixteen years old, immediately ascended the throne. 
Reshid Pasha, reputed to be very favorable to Great 
Britain, became the prime minister. Very soon was 
issued that famous and historic rescript, entitled '"Ilatti 
Scheriff of Qui Ham." It was first promulgated at Gul 
Ham, which signifies the rose garden, a portion of the 
ground within the Seraglio Point. According to this re- 
markable document, all bribery and corruption were to 
cease in the Ottoman Empire, and perfect equality of 
rights was to be enjoyed by all its inhabitants. 'Eo one 
was to be executed without having a public trial. The 
true value of this document (in the words of Dr. Ham- 
lin) is to be sought in its effects upon the people, more 
than upon the administration of the government. It 
went all through the empire. It woke up the slumbering 
East. It was the first voice that announced to the people 
the object of government and the legitimate ends to be 
attained by it. It gave the Rayahs (that is to say, the 
Christian subjects of the empire) courage to contend for 
their rights. It brought forward the novel idea, that men 
should be equal before the law, and all accused persons 
should be entitled to a fair and public trial. It set aside 
the powerful and pernicious clique of government bank- 
ers. It diminished the civil power of the clergy. In a 
word, it loudly changed the current of thought, putting 
it into new channels, never to revert again to the old. It 
kindled the rage of the old Mussulmans, but it greatly ex- 
cited the hopes of the party of progress among the Turks, 
as well as those of the oppressed Rayahs. 

It was about three years after the publication of this 
remarkable constitution for the Turkish empire that an 
Armenian named Carabet, otherwise called Hovakim, 
was executed as an apostate from Islam. His headless 
body was found lying in a public street on the outside of 
the Seraglio w^alls. His head, with a Frank's cap stuck on 

132 MlY life and times. 

it, was put between his thighs. Thus, after a very short 
period, the sacred Ilatti Scheriff is trampled uuder foot, 
to the rejoicing of the old Mussulman party, but to the 
extreme dissatisfaction and contempt and vexation of 
the party of progress amongst the Turks. It also aroused 
the indignation of all the European ambassadors at Con- 
stantinople, Russia alone excepted. The English ambas- 
sador, Sir Stratford Canning, took the lead, insisting that 
the Sultan should make a solemn promise that such an 
act on the part of his government should never be re- 
peated. This was given first by the Grand Vizier of the 
empire, but repeated, in a personal interview, by the Sul- 
tan, which Sir Stratford had demanded. And the next 
day the Sultan gave his assent to all this, in a public audi- 
ence, adding, "ISTeither shall Christianity be insulted in 
my dominions, nor shall Christians be in any way perse- 
cuted for their religion." 

How could the events, to which I have been referring, 
fail of producing great excitement amongst all the differ- 
ent races, providentially associated together, in Constan- 
tinople, and the other cities of the Turkish empire, each 
of these races zealously addicted to its own religion ? 

Their effect upon the Christian Rayahs was very de- 
cided. They had understood the Haiti Scheriff to confer 
on them important and sacred rights. They saw these 
rights were trampled on in the execution of Carabet. Of 
course, there was excitement amongst them. The spirit 
of religious inquiry, which had been previously roused 
amongst the Armenians, was naturally very much pro- 
moted. The missionary cause amongst them was much 
advanced. These events sensibly diminished the power 
and influence of the patriarch and other ecclesiastics. 
Their attention also being absorbed by these events, the 
missionaries were enabled to go quickly on with their 
work in its various departments. 

ISTevertheless, in this very period of deep interest and 
high excitement, I was being providentially led to con- 
sider, seriously, the question of returning with my fam- 
ily to my own country for a visit of twelve months. Ten 
years before this time, when we first sailed for Smyrna 
to be missionaries, we had no expectation of ever return- 


ing home again. At that period the prevalent idea was 
that the foreign missionary embarked for his whole life. 
It was enlistment, then, for the whole war. The church 
had not then come to consider it expedient that mission- 
aries should have a furlough after some years' service. 
Still, upon occasion, it sometimes happened that a mis- 
sionary had to return home on some particular errand of 
importance. In my case, there was a failure of eyesight, 
which had indeed slightly manifested itself at the close of 
my Seminary life, but which my peculiar missionary call- 
ing, and especially the effects of small-pox, had aggra- 
vated. The inspection of manuscript, and the examina- 
tion of proof sheets in the Armenian language, is quite 
trying, even to a sound eye, owing to the great similarity 
of many of the letters used. I began to think a year's 
rest would be advantageous. And, as my father and 
mother were approaching three-score and ten, and re- 
peatedly expressed the desire to see me once more, I was 
conferring with my brethren at Constantinople, and re- 
luctantly considering how I could best prepare for the 
voyage and visit. 

During the year 1845 there began to be talk of organiz- 
ing an evangelical alliance of all Christian believers. 
This was to be attempted in the summer of 1846 in the 
city of London. As this period approached, and the de- 
termination was reached that I should go on my visit 
home, my brethren in Constantinople expressed the wish 
that, passing through London, I should represent our 
mission in this convention. The invitation to this assem- 
bly had at first been for all evangelical churches and min- 
isters. Afterwards it was published that no slaveholder 
would be admitted. The anti-slavery discussion in the 
United States, I well remember as beginning during my 
last year at Princeton, and I had read perhaps the very 
first number of William Lloyd Garrison's paper. The Lib- 
erator, but it had made little progress in America, up to 
the time of my embarkation for Smyrna. During the ten 
or eleven years of my missionary life up to this time, it 
had not very greatly interested me, being absorbed in my 
Armenian work. The published denial to all slaveholders 
of admission to the alliance, of course, set me to thinking, 


and what I had never thought of before arrested my atten- 
tion now, viz., that, in a sense, I was one of those who 
were guilty of the sin of holding slaves. In the course of 
correspondence, I mentioned this discovery, which I had 
made, to my brethren in Constantinople. More than one 
of them had, not long before this, returned from Amer- 
ica, and they wrote me at once, very positively, that unless 
I could get rid of this relationship, I would never be able 
to get back to the Armenian work. Consequently, I wrote 
at once to my wife's sister, saying that we renounced all 
right or title to any property in these slaves, but I re- 
solved at the same time to abjure the honor of a seat in the 
alliance. To my astonishment, I found my brother-in- 
law. Dr. Thomas Smyth, in London. He had overworked 
his strength, and had crossed the Atlantic for rest. He 
urged my attending the alliance with him, stating that 
they had resolved to receive slaveholders, at the prelim- 
inary conferences, under protest. I had engaged our 
passage to Kew York, and had some ten days to spare be- 
fore sailing from Liverpool, so we went in together. Dur- 
ing the whole time of my attendance, this Evangelical 
Alliance proved to be nothing at all but a gathering of 
abolitionists, to denounce slaveholders for their sins. 
There were present well-known Unitarian and Univer- 
salist ministers, against whose membership not a word 
was raised. These were more evangelical than any slave- 
holder could be! There were some twenty-odd Ameri- 
cans in the preliminary conference, nearly all from the 
JSTorthern States, but, to a man, they all resisted the claim 
of an evangelical alliance to legislate against slavehold- 
ing. Dr. Skinner, of ITorth Carolina, originally, but 
then of Philadelphia; Dr. Humphreys, originally of 
Massachusetts, but then of Louisville; Dr. Smyth and 
myself, if I remember rightly, were all that hailed from 
the South. Dr. Samuel H. Cox, of I^ew York, was the 
acknowledged leader on the American side. After some 
ten days' earnest discussion, the question of admitting 
slaveholders to an evangelical alliance was referred to a 
committee. Their report came in on Saturday night. 
There was intense excitement in the body. The report ex- 
cluded all slaveholders. Sir Culling Eardley Smith, 


chairman of the body, was manifestly for rushing the re- 
port through, without discussion. As he was about to 
put tlie question, I lifted my voice in protest, which 
caused a check in the chairman's movement. Dr. Smyth, 
who was standing alongside of me, ejaculated that I was 
a missionary from Turkey, thinking thereby to give some 
weight to my few words of protest. Dr. Humphreys, who 
was standing on the other side of me, cried out that he 
seconded my protest. Dr. Smyth did the same. And 
then, to my great delight, one after another, if I do not 
mistake, the whole American delegation backed us up. 
But, nevertheless, the report was adopted. 

My time was up, and on Monday morning I took my 
family to Liverpool, and sailed for ISTew York. The 
Evangelical Alliance met that morning, and the chairman 
called on the Rev. Gorham Abbott, of Massachusetts, a 
most devout and lovely Christian brother, whom I well 
knew, to lead the Alliance in prayer. What followed was 
afterwards reported to me. Mr. Abbott's was a most 
touching prayer, deploring before the Lord our Saviour 
the sad division which had arisen in the body, and be- 
seeching that it might yet be healed. After that, the 
Americans spoke again, explaining to their English 
brethren that the state of public sentiment amongst Chris- 
tians generally, in their country, was such that the report 
could not be sustained. Accordingly, it was recommitted, 
and so modified as to be acceptable to all. How much 
the modifications amounted to I cannot now recall. 

On my arrival in New York I was received by my 
brothers, James and Ellison, and my sisters, Susan and 
Jane Anne, with a very warm welcome. There was an 
English girl, some fifteen years old, in Smyrna, to whose 
father, an honest blacksmith, I had been helpful in in- 
ducing him to give up intoxicating drink. Mr. Jones was 
grateful, and when my wife wished to get Harriet's 
help in carrying our youngest child across the water, he 
gave his cheerful consent, and I promised in remunera- 
tion to give her a year's schooling at some good ISTew Eng- 
land institution, and to procure her safe ])assage home 
again. My first business, after arrival in ^N'ew York, was 
to take Harriet Jones to Hartford, Conn., and place her 


with j\frs. Bird in a scliool which her husband, the Rev. 
Mr. Bird, formerly a missionary to Syria, had recently 
established there. Harriet was a dear, good child, a pro- 
fessing Christian, very much attached to little Susie and 
her mother, and we were greatly attached to her. Susie 
took quickly to her uncle James, in place of Harriet. His 
petting won her heart, and using the Greek language, 
which was the most familiar to her, she called him "allo- 
papa," that is, my other father. The steamship South- 
erner was about to sail on her first or second voyage to 
Charleston, and my family all went with my brothers 
and sisters in her. I felt it became me to repair first 
to Boston, and report to the Prudential Committee of the 
Board. Secretary Anderson, who had been at my house 
in Smyrna, took me home with him to the neighboring 
village of Roxbury. My visit was of several days. We 
went in together every morning, and I spent the day at 
the missionary rooms. On one of those evenings, as we 
walked home together, I turned to him suddenly, and 
said, "Dr. Anderson, I have lately discovered that I am 
a slaveholder through my wife." He started, as if I had 
shot him. He said, "I am very sorry to hear what you 
say," and he proceeded to tell me how necessary it would 
be to rid myself of that relationship. I told him what I 
had already written to my wife's sister, and he urged that 
if that did not prove to be sufiicient, I would, on reaching 
Charleston, do whatever else was necessary to accomplish 
the result. He then gave me an account of what infinite 
trouble John Leighton Wilson's case had given both to 
Wilson and the Board. He said that when it was pub- 
lished throughout ]!^ew England that I was a missionary 
from Charleston, the inquiry would be immediately 
raised whether I was a slaveholder ; and that the attack 
of the abolitionists upon the Board, which had quieted 
down somewhat, would be renewed with vigor, and, as in 
Wilson's case, it would cost the Board one-half their an- 
nual resources, besides giving them and me a great deal 
of annoyance by the public discussion. Dr. Wilson, it 
will be remembered, before becoming a foreign mission- 
ary, thought fit to send all his slaves, some eighteen in 
number, to Liberia, with the exception of one boy, whom. 


for some reason or other, he allowed to remain with his 
own family as a slave. "The Board," said Dr. Anderson, 
''had refused to give up the missionary Wilson, prefer- 
ring to submit to the bitterest and most injurious re- 
proaches on his account." As for himself. Dr. Anderson 
told me, and I record it here to his honor, that he would 
have seen the American Board shivered into fragments 
rather than have dishonorably and unjustly abandoned 
John Leighton Wilson. 

The discussion in the Evangelical Alliance had waked 
me up to the importance of the anti-slavery controversy. 
Sympathy with my own people was roused in me. I 
made no promise to Dr. Anderson. Arriving at home, my 
attention was soon drawn to the religious condition of the 
negroes in the city. In Dr. Smyth's church there were 
some three hundred colored members. I often looked at 
them, as they sat in the gallery, and felt how far preach- 
ing to his white congregation went over their heads. The 
same was true of Dr. Forrest's church, the First Presby- 
terian, where there were some five hundred negro mem- 
bers. In the different Methodist churches the colored 
membership was some five thousand. In all the other 
churches, especially the Baptist, there was a large colored 
membership, so that the total colored membership in 
Charleston could not have been less than some eight or 
ten thousand persons. It was divided out more or less 
thoroughly into classes, under the leadership of chosen 
colored men of good repute. There were at least twelve 
thousand negroes, however, in Charleston, not included 
in this membership, and there was good reason to believe 
that, among the colored leaders, many were both incompe- 
tent and unfaithful. Before I went abroad my thoughts v^ 
had turned to this people, and I had considered the ques- / 
tion of following in the track of Dr. C. C. Jones, who was [^ 
an apostle to the negroes of Liberty county, Ga. But the \ 
call of the heathen world, where no gospel at all had ever \ 
been preached, appeared to me to outweigh that of negroes \ 
in this Christian country, where, in a great many of the / 
Christian churches throughout the whole South, more or J 
less attention was paid to their spiritual wants. Besides 
this, in the city of Charleston, and no doubt in many 


otlier Southern cities and towns, as well as in country 
neighborhoods, the white children, in many a family, 
were teaching the negroes, old and young, to read the 
Bible. Very often, however, during my missionary life, 
my thoughts had reverted to the negro field at home, and 
sometimes I questioned whether I had done right to turn 
my back on it. But coming back to my native city, from 
missionary labors to the Armenians, who are a nominally 
Christian people, my old interest in the Southern negroes 
naturally reasserted itself. I thought I saw plainly that 
Christianity, as accepted by white masters, had not ade- 
quately impressed itself on their poor black dependents. 
It seemed very clear that the men of my race could not 
properly discharge their duty to their slaves vicariously. 
They could not righteously meet their religious obliga- 
tions to human beings, providentially brought under their 
control and care, by throwing them upon the shoulders of 
half-instructed men of their own color. I said to myself, 
it certainly is time for some white minister to make a 
beginning of public instruction, specially and separately, 
for the negroes, in the performance of which he should be 
assisted by white teachers under his leadership. Such a 
beffinnine-, I was convinced, with the blessing of God, 
must be followed by auspicious results, m more than one 
direction. Conferring with my brother William, who 
was an elder in the Second Presbyterian church, consid- 
erably younger than myself, but in whose religious char- 
acter and sound judgment I had the very highest confi- 
dence, I found him perfectly alive to these views, and I 
had good reason to consider him a fair representative of 
the sentiments of the most enlightened Christian people 
in the city. 

But I myself was a missionary to the Armenians, at 

f home only for a visit. My work amongst them was wait- 

\ ing for me. It was an important and encouraging one, 

attractive to me in the highest degree, and, as being liter- 

/ ary work, was suited to my individual taste, shared by 

me with brethren in whom I had the highest confidence, 

and for them all undying affection. I was happy in that 

work. There was no position in the church at home that 

I would compare with it in any respect. Yet I did feel 


that, as a Southern Christian minister of the white race, ^ 
and indirectly a slaveholder myself, the negro had a claim ] 
on me which I was bound to consider. 

My own judgment being thus unsettled by conflicting 
views of a question very important to me, I naturally de- 
sired to confer with Dr. Anderson. I had been consider- 
ably intimate with him. We had been in each other's 
families, and so knew each other well. I still possess sun- 
dry letters addressed to me by him during my life in 
Smyrna, upon w^hich he wrote "Private" and "Confiden- 
tial." Thus, as early as ISTovember, I had communicated 
to him some impressions made on my mind by the infor- 
mation I had acquired of the religious condition of the 
negroes in Charleston. I continued to acquaint him by 
letters, at different times, with the course of my own 
thoughts on this subject, and I have in my possession 
brief notes showing the drift of the letters which I wrote 
to him. I was not writing to him for advice. It was, on 
my part, just a friendly correspondence with one whom 
I greatly revered, intended to show him how I was feeling 
regarding this matter, and to draw forth some expression 
of his feelings in return. The first few of his replies I 
have lost, but I still possess one of date January 8, 1847. 
This was a hurried and exceedingly brief one. He was 
a very busy man, continually having difficult questions 
pressing on his mind — and many of them both very difli- 
cult and very delicate. In the letter just referred to (and 
I feel sure this was the case with the others, which during 
these fifty years have passed out of my possession) there 
is not one consideration presented by him in favor of my 
return to Smyrna. I subjoin a copy of my reply to this 
brief letter. 


Charleston, January 20, 1847. 
Rev. R. Anderson, D. D., Secretary, etc. 

My Dear Brother: Yours of the 8th inst. I duly received. I 
remember your observation to me in Smyrna respecting the dis- 
agreeable position into which you were once put by an appointed 
missionary, who was led to doubt whether he ought not to remain 
at home, but who desired to get the Prudential Committee to take 
on them the responsibility of deciding that he ought to stay, and 


who labored hard, but in vain, to get them to take that respon- 

I am far from wishing you, or them, to take this responsibility 
in my case, though I am sincerely desirous to get your aid, as far 
as possible, in deciding the question myself. And I think that a 
missionary, twelve years connected with you, and always enjoying 
your confidence, has a right to your brotherly advice and counsel. 

Will you pardon me for saying that I have looked for some con- 
siderations to be suggested by you on the side of my returning to 

It has occurred to me that perhaps you thought the question was 
from the first really decided in my mind; but this was not and is 
not now the case, although I feel that I am gradually verging to a 

One other cause for your silence, respecting the claims of the 
Armenian work upon me, has suggested itself, and I beg that you 
will candidly tell me if it has really had any weight in your mind. 
Do you apprehend any embarrassment to the board from my return, 
in reference to that nominal relation which I mentioned to you that 
I had renounced? or in reference to the subject of slavery? And 
has this affected your letters to me in any shape or form? 

I know what trouble you have had with the case of Mr. Wilson, 
and how natural it will be for people to be inquiring all about me 
when I come to set sail again for Smyrna. As to that relation 
above referred to, the matter stands exactly in statu quo — I have 
done nothing more about it. 

Yours (signed), Jno. B. Adger. 

To this letter I received a reply, of which I subjoin a 


Missionary House, Boston, January 27, 1847. 

Rev. J. B. Adger, Charleston, S. C. 

My Dear Brother: I yesterday received yours of the 20th. I 
fully admit your right to whatever brotherly advice and counsel 
my circumstances enable me to give you. I will say more; you 
are entitled to tlie utmost frankness on my part, and you shall 
have it. In neither of my letters do I believe that I had so much as 
a thought of your ever becoming so related to slavery as to occasion 
us any trouble. I did not think of it, and consequently my seeming 
reserve was not owing to that. What effect thinking much on that 
subject would have, I cannot tell. I believe you are as desirous as 
any one I know of to do what is right in relation to that thing, and 
I have not believed myself called on to spend time in imagining 
what troubles you might be the occasion of in future. 

I have, however, rather inferred from the course this question 


has had in your mind since your return to Charleston that, in point 
of fact, it would seem to you to be duty to spend the residue of your 
life in missionary labors in the South. I can hardly tell why that 
impression preponderated, only that it did; nor have I felt the least 
inclined to blame you or to think less favorably of you. This, no 
doubt, has restrained my pen somewhat, but probably not much. 

My avoiding the responsibility of positive advice is habitual with 
me. It is a great thing to go on a mission, and greater to take a 
family of children abroad ; and I feel that nothing but a man's own 
spontaneous convictions of duty will justify his going. 

I should certainly rejoice, as all the brethren of your mission of 
course would, if you saw your duty to return clear, and should act 
upon that conviction; and if it were necessary to show the sincerity 
of my desire for this result, by arguing in favor of your so doing, 
I would fill a sheet with arguments. But I can say nothing which 
you do not already know better than I do, and I cannot bring my- 
self to write arguments merely to show my sincerity. You know 
we are in the crisis of our work amongst the Armenians, and that 
there are hundreds, if not thousands, of Armenians scattered over 
Turkey, who are inquiring what they shall do to be saved, but have 
not yet been brought to take a stand on the Lord's side; and that, 
in order to this, we must, in the shortest possible time, fill the 
country with competent evangelists and books. But I am arguing, 
and I stop. 

Do that which you regard as right, my dear brother, whether it 
be to go or stay. I shall not distrust your integrity in any event. 
With affectionate regards to Mrs. Adger, as ever, most truly yours, 
(Signed) Rtjfus Anderson, 

Secretary of A. B. C. F. M. 

The impression made on my mind by this letter was 
not pleasant. I had not asked for ''positive advice," much 
less Q-fficial advice, or for his taking the responsibility of 
deciding the question for me. I had, in my letter to him, 
expressly disclaimed the wish for anything of this kind. 
I had written to him as an intimate friend, for ''brotherly 
advice and counsel," expecting him to say something or 
other in some one of his letters indicating some desire for 
the continuation of my relations to the foreign missionary 
work. ISTot once had he ever reminded me, until I had 
dragged it out of him, that "there was a crisis in the Ar- 
menian work," and that it was necessary, "in the shortest 
possible time, to fill the country with competent evangel- 
ists and books," It was rather unpleasant for Dr. Ander- 


son to imply that I had wanted him to fill a sheet, or even 
a paragraph, with arguments for m}^ retnrn. 

But there was a portion of this letter that was even 
painful to me. It was where Dr. Anderson professed so 
decidedly that he had not given a thought to my "ever be- 
coming so related to slavery as to occasion us any trouble," 
and that he was not called on "to spend time in imagining 
what troubles you might be the occasion of in future." 

This correspondence is almost fifty years old, and, as 
I read it over to-day, I am able to realize that Dr. Ander- 
son had been thinking of so many and such great matters, 
since the day that we walked and talked together about 
my relationship to slaveholding, that he had quite for- 
gotten the earnest words he spoke that day, the anxious 
wishes he had expressed, that I could be freed from that 
relationship, and the very impressive history he had given 
me of the trouble and injury which John Leighton Wil- 
son's case had occasioned the Board, and how he foretold 
the probability of my case having the same eifects. But, 
at the time of my receiving and reading this letter, that 
charitable supposition did not occur to me, and, as I am 
writing a history of what took place, I am bound to tell 
just how the letter operated on my feelings and conduct. 
I saw plainly the inconsistency. I could not resist the 
impression that there was insincerity. I was led to sus- 
pect that from the time we had walked and talked about 
this matter. Dr. Anderson had been resolved to make it 
very easy for me to dissolve my connection with the Amer- 
ican Board. I was not willing to become another incum- 
brance in the way of that honored Board. They should 
not have to defend me, as they had to defend John T^eigh- 
ton Wilson. I would make it easy for them to be rid of 
the second slaveholder. 

Accordingly, on the 19th of April, I wrote my resigna- 
tion, but delayed sending it for some days, that I might 
receive letters that I was expecting from my brethren in 
Smyrna and Constantinople. Having received and con- 
sidered these, I forwarded my resignation on the 19th of 
May, and it was accepted. I said to the Secretary, "It is 
needless for me to go into any detail of the reasons which 
have led me to this determination. They may be summed 


up in one statement — I feel that I am called, in the provi- ■> 
denee of God, to give myself to the work of preaching the „, 
gospel to the blacks." Referring to the twelve happy ^ 
years I had spent in the mission, and the many tender ties 
which I was rupturing, I remarked that the state of my 
eyesight would have required me, had I been able to re- 
turn, to be transferred to some other department of the 
work, that I was very loath to quit that work, and that 
I would gladly go back and spend the residue of my days 
with the Armenians. Then, to the gentlemen of the com- 
mittee, and to himself, as also his colleagues at the mis- 
sionary house, I bade a respectful and affectionate fare- 

It did not appear to me needful or suitable that, in this 
official communication to the Board, I should refer to 
what had passed between me and Dr. Anderson. And 
here I must mention the somewhat remarkable fact, that, 
whereas some ten years before this, there were at least a 
dozen Southern missionaries connected with this Board, 
yet, in the providence of God, one way or another, every 
one of them was brought home either before or soon after 
my resignation, John Leighton Wilson being, perhaps, 
the very last one. 

Thus ended my twelve and a half years of personal ser- f 
vice in the foreign missionary work. It had been a very -^ 
happy life, both to me and to my wife, who shed more 
tears when it was decided that we could not go back than 
she had wept when we first set forth, leaving all that was 
dear behind. 

Here let me record my testimony to the exalted char- 
acter and genuine nobility of the missionaries with whom 
I was associated. Let me also state, as to their families, 
that, notwithstanding many severe trials encountered by 
them, still, it seemed to me, they were, on the whole, the 
happiest set with which I have ever been acquainted. 
Foreign missionary life, as I saw it, was certainly calcu- 
lated to be a happy one. It was a life of a very simple 
faith. The missionary had only an economical support, 
could lay up nothing for the future, and trusted his wife 
and children after him to the good providence of his Mas- 
ter. Then the conduct of the missionary's life also was 


very simple. He did not have to be mucli conformed to 
the world around him. In fact, the very object of his 
mission was to effect a change in the character, life and 
manners of the people to whom he came. The minister at 
home, in some things, must carefully conform to his con- 
gregation, for many of their ideas and customs are good 
and right. With the foreign missionary, it is different. 
He must set himself in opposition to their most cherished 
ideas and their most settled habits of life. While he en- 
deavors to give no offence, yet he must not seek to "please 
men," or he "cannot be the servant of Christ." The for- 
eign missionary life is calculated to make a man feel that 
he is a stranger and a pilgrim in the world. And then, if 
his work is prosperous, as ours was, there is much to rouse 
the enthusiasm of the missionary. I would like to have 
spent my life in that work. I do not know any man whose 
career is more to be admired than that of my friend and 
colleague. Dr. Elias Riggs, of Constantinople. He has 
spent his whole ministerial life of sixty-four years in the 
Levant, first in the Greek work, then in the Armenian 
and Bulgarian. A man of the rarest linguistic ability, 
mastering first the modern Greek, in which he preached 
like a native, he has spent many subsequent years in 
translating, or revising the whole Scriptures into Arme- 
nian, and, finally, Bulgarian. His wife, after many 
years of service, lies buried in that land. Their children 
after them are, with the exception of one, a professor in 
the Theological Seminary of the Dutch Reformed Church, 
l^ew Brunswick, ]^. J., following in their parents' foot- 
steps. One, who became blind from scarlet fever, in very 
early childhood, got his education in America, and has 
served for years as a very useful professor in a mission- 
ary college at Aintab, near to the ancient Cilicia and Tar- 
sus, where the Apostle Paul was born and reared. All 
Dr. Riggs' children, sons and daughters, are missionaries, 
and now, towards the end of his eighty-sixth year, he is 
still working, waiting, and watching for the Master. 
What a splendid course this man has run ! Where is the 
minister in America who has lived sixty-four years of 
more useful life? But, alas! in this year of 1896, in 
this month of September, it does seem as if he, and all his 


children, are in great danger of being massacred hj the 
Turks. Very well ; if that turns out to be so, there will 
just be so many added to the "noble army of martyrs," 
whom we honor so much, along with "the glorious com- 
pany of the apostles" and "the goodly fellowship of the 

My connection with the American Board was now 
brought to a close, not from any purpose or wish of mine, 
but directly and chiefly through the influence of ignorant 
"Kew England fanaticism, and unscriptural and unchris- 
tian prejudice against slaveholders. Of course, it all 
came to pass in the wise providence of God. The time 
had come for me to return to my own people, who were 
suffering the unjust reproaches, both of the ISTorth and of 
Great Britain, and henceforth I was to cast in my lot 
with them, and bear my share of all the future would 
bring forth. There was a great work, too long neglected, 
in Charleston, and a small beginning of it was now to be 
commenced. With other hands than mine, and by the 
magic of another voice, namely, that of John Lafayette 
Girardeau, it was subsequently to grow apace. Great 
events were about to occur. A certain mighty prejudice 
in Charleston was to be overthrown, and Christian mas- 
ters there and elsewhere were to put forth more direct 
efforts for the religious instruction and eternal salvation 
of their slaves. There was to be a dreadful war, and 
slavery was to come to an end. Charleston, where the 
war began, was to continue one of its chief centres to its 
close, and the feeble commencement of negro separate 
religious education directly by white men, was to create 
and foster a strong Christian affection between blacks 
and whites, and this was to prove eminently propitious to 
our beleaguered city during all the dangers of the war. 
To myself, personally, another and very acceptable re- 
sult was to come. My eyes, so weary with the trying work 
of Armenian reading, writing, and proof reading, were to 
have comparative rest. 

» But the American Board's troubles about slavery and 
slaveholders were not yet to come to an end. John Leigh- 
ton Wilson's case had indeed (as Dr. Anderson told me on 
that walk to Roxbury) given them immense trouble, but 


that was nothing compared with what was to follow. The 
first public organized effort that I know of, on the part of 
the abolitionists, to bring the Board over to their ground, 
was made in 1840, at their annual meeting, held in Prov- 
idence, Ehode Island. It came in the form of a memorial, 
remonstrating against the Board's accepting money from 
slaveholders. In answer to this memorial, the Board ac- 
knowledged the justice of the ground which it took, that 
God will not accept the fruits of robbery for sacrifice, but 
pleaded the practical difficulty there was in discriminat- 
ing between the various persons at the South who were 
contributing to its treasury. This was enough for the 
abolitionists ; it gave them an entering wedge in the 
Board's acknowledgment that, on the whole, their prin- 
ciples and reasonings were correct. Thus, after thirty 
years' receipt and use of the money of slaveholders, and 
after all the foundations of the Board had been laid in 
blood and sin, it began to be determined that no more of 
such material should be employed in the superstructure. 

Of course, next year at Philadelphia, the abolitionists 
renew their onset. Their claim now is that the Board 
must break their studied silence on the subject of slavery, 
and show their sympathy with those Christians who abhor 
that system of abominations, and it is hinted that other- 
wise their income must be diminished. The Board's an- 
swer was that it had been organized simply to propagate 
the gospel amongst the heathen, and that this work would 
be enough for angels. But they went on to add that this 
Board could sustain no relation to slavery which implied 
approbation of it, or connection or sympathy with it. 

Again, in 1842, there are more memorials, as also in 
1844, and in that year occurs the first reference, on the 
part of the disaffected, to the holding of slaves by the 
Choctaw Indians, amongst whom the Board had long had 
a flourishing mission. This was a new point of attack, 
and the Board promised to look into the matter and give 
answer at their next annual meeting. 

In 1845 at Brooklyn, the Board were outspoken against 
the wickedness of the system of slavery. But they set 
forth, as amongst their fundamental principles, that 
church membership cannot be refused to any persons Avho 


give evidence of repentance and faith, and also that the 
missionaries, in connection with the churches they have 
gathered, are the only rightful judges of this evidence. 
But, so far have the Board succumbed to the rising power 
of this tyrant fanaticism, that this year they write to the 
Choctaw missionaries that they should train their church 
members to the duty of emancipating their slaves. 

We recall to mind just here that it was this same year 
(1845), about four months previous to the meeting of the 
Board, that the General Assembly of the Presbyterian 
Church, Old School, meeting at Cincinnati, Ohio, while 
they condemned what no good man at the South, no Chris- 
tian slaveholder, will approve, viz., the evils that are in- 
cidentally connected with the system of slavery, as with 
all human institutions and relationships, such as parent 
and child, husband and wife, did yet declare to the same 
effect with these two fundamental principles, adopted by 
the American Board, that "the church of Christ is a 
spiritual body, whose jurisdiction extends only to the 
religious faith and moral conduct of her members, and 
that she cannot legislate when Christ has not legislated, 
nor make terms of membership which he has not made." 
They added that they could not "denounce the holding of 
slaves as necessarily a heinous and scandalous sin, calcu- 
lated to bring upon the church the curse of God, without 
charging the apostles of Christ with conniving at such 
sin, and introducing into the church such sinners." 
Standing firm on this Scriptural ground, this church has 
ever since enjoyed peace and quiet on the subject of 
slavery, while, at the same time, through her ministers 
and churches at the South, she has been humbly endeavor- 
ing to preach the gospel to both bond and free. 

In 1846 the subject of slavery was hardly introduced at 
the Board's annual meeting. Perhaps there had come to 
pass a lull in the abolitionist war, and this being the very 
year of my return home, perhaps I might thus account 
for Dr. Anderson's seeming, in his correspondence with 
me, to have forgotten the great anxiety he had expressed 
to me at Roxbury, respecting all the trouble my slave- 
holding was about to bring upon the Board. 

However, be this as it may, the war was renewed, and 


in great vigor, at the very next meeting, viz., in 1847. It 
was felt that the missionaries in the Indian country had 
not given proper heed to the instructions about emancipa- 
tion, and that a secretary must be sent out to investigate 
the matter of slavery among the Choctaws, and there 
having occurred two vacancies among the secretaries, 
these are filled with two new ones, both of them decided 
abolitionists, viz., the Rev. Mr. Treat and the Rev. Dr. 
Pomeroy. It soon became manifest what would be the 
effects of this election. 

At the next annual meeting, Boston, 1848, Secretary 
Treat, who had been sent to the Choctaws, made his re- 
port, and then^ in the name of the committee, wrote his 
famous letter to the missionaries. Mr. Treat's letter 
takes the ground that "the system of slavery is always and 
everywhere sinful," and that "all slaveholding is sinful, 
too, except where it is involuntary, or continued solely for 
the benefit of the slave." The missionary must denounce 
it, "but discreetly." ISTo slaveholder may sit at the Lord's 
table, until he proves that he is free from all this guilt. 
The missionary must also abstain from the use of all slave 
labor in any form whatever. And their support may be 
withheld if they disobey these instructions. 

This monstrous production was reviewed by Dr. Hodge 
in liisBihlical Repertory for January, 1849. The reviewer 
described the letter as unexceptionable in manner, couched 
in the blandest terms, yet archiopiscopal in its tone 
and written just as the "Servant of Servants at Rome" is 
wont to write. He also points out how preposterous were 
the claims of the committee to the control over mission- 
aries and missionary churches. He dwells on the posi- 
tion taken against the use of slave labor in all the domes- 
tic and farming operations of the mission. Thoir poor 
sickly wives must not hire a slave to cook or wash for their 
large boarding schools, lest the system of slavery be 
thereby encouraged. And yet the whole Xorth and the 
committee, doubtless, likewise were daily using the 
products of slave labor. This, said the reviewer, was 
straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel ; it is being 
dreadfully troubled with the mote in our brother's eye, 
but quite indifferent to the beam in our o^vn — it was a 


carping at trifles in the laborious, devoted men in the 
wilderness, but blind to tenfold greater evils in the pam- 
pered churches at home. 

The effect of Dr. Hodge's review was sensibly felt at 
the missionary rooms, Boston. Immediately on its ap- 
pearance, the Secretaries, over their o^vn names, send 
forth a disclaimer. There was nothing authoritative in 
the committee's correspondence with the Choctaw nation. 
The committee were only discussing with the missionaries 
certain important questions. 

It was at this time I addressed a letter to Dr. Anderson, 
a copy of which lies before me. It was dated January 15, 
1819, following their meeting in October, 1848. I said, 
"Be not offended if, with the freedom of an old friend of 
yours and a former missionary, and still an honorary 
member of the Board, I repeat here my remark made to 
you in Syria, that you are yielding to the abolitionists ! 
They are changing public sentiment, and you must speak 
somewhat in their language, or you are crippled. The 
pressure is tremendous. It seems, moreover, hard that 
you, who have, as you say, nothing directly to do with 
Southern slavery, should be made to share any part of 
the burden of JSTorthern popular odium, which is cast on 
us of the South. . . . We, at the South, are standing 
on the Bible ground, and those who force you to speak 
out against us are standing on ground which they think 
higher than the Bible ! That we must sustain the institu- 
tion of slavery against the mad and wild interference of 
people outside our borders, is plain to me, even as a 
friend to the negro. Whether you ought to give up your 
o^\Ti position and be forced into the new position of a lever 
to act on us, you must and you will, doubtless, decide for 
yourselves. But, in my view, there is no higher calling 
for the American citizen, as a citizen, than to stand in the 
breach with even a few, and contend for sound and just 
principles against the fury of the populace." 

In 1849, 'l850, 1851, 1852 nothing worthy of note, in 
respect to this matter, occurs at the meetings of the 
Board, except that in 1852 it fell to the lot of this same 
Mr. Treat to bring in a report on the success of the Indian 
missions. And it was indeed a glowing report of the 


growing temperance, improving agriculture, advancing 
education, excellent government and constant, prayerful, 
intelligent and zealous piety of these same slaveholding 
Clioctaws. As to the churches, he says, "When we enter 
their churches, Ave feel that the Lord, in very deed, is in 
the midst of them." 

In 1852, then, the Choctaw churches are not very great 
sinners, albeit fully tolerating in their communion a sys- 
tem pronounced in 1849 to be "alwavs and everywhere 

In the annual meeting in 1853 another very fine report 
of progress among the Clioctaws is read by this Mr. Treat. 
There is evidently a desire to have the action of 1848 pass 
into oblivion. But this may not be. At Hartford, Conn., 
in 1854, up comes the Choctaw question again, under the 
full blast of the well-known excitement about the admis- 
sion of Kansas as a free State, which so stirred the whole 
United States. There had also been legislation by the 
Clioctaws against any citizens of the United States inter- 
fering with the rights of slaveholders. This legislation 
was provoked, it would seem, by the visit and letter of 
Mr. Treat, and especially by a suggestion that had been 
made to the mission, to seek release from their contract 
with the Choctaw nation about their boarding schools. 
The Choctaw legislation was very offensive to the aboli- 
tionists in that meeting of the Board. Accordingly, the 
Treat letter was fully endorsed, the Senior Secretary 
being absent from this meeting, on his official visitation 
to the missions of the Board in the East Indies. 

Friends of the Board in I^ew York were protesting 
now against some of these proceedings. Consequently, 
the Rev. George W. Wood, of the Constantinople mission, 
(an acting secretary at the time, during Dr. Anderson's 
absence) was sent out to the Choctaw country, to arrange 
a new platform. I knew Mr. Wood well, and loved him 
much. We had been colleagues together for years in the 
Armenian mission. He had so much genuine kindness of 
heart, and so much gentleness of manner, and was withal 
so clear and discriminating in his mental powers, that not 
one man in ten thousand was fitted like him for such an 
embassy, albeit his proceedings in this case did not fully 


comport with the character I had formed of my brother. 
The platform which he drew up was fully pervaded with 
the principles of abolition. It is simply amazing how 
such men as those missionaries are known to have been, 
were induced to sign it, for that Goodwater platform did 
not consist with what they had previously held. But no 
sooner did this platform, with Mr. Wood's comments, 
appear in the New York Observer, than the missionaries 
immediately forwarded to the Secretaries and committee 
their protest against the whole report. 

In October, 1855, the Board meets at Utica, jST. Y. 
The Senior Secretary, Dr. Anderson, was still in India. 
The other two Secretaries were both present. There is 
good reason to believe they had the missionaries' protest 
in their pocket. Yet the whole case before the Board is 
settled on the basis of the Goodwater platform, with no 
allusion to the protest. The missionaries are so aggrieved 
when these tidings reach them that they, or some of them, 
send on their resignation. J^o sooner had the Senior Sec- 
retary returned than he showed himself anxious to have 
the missionaries withdraw their resignation. The com- 
mittee, accordingly, propose this to the missionaries. 
These consent, on condition that the Treat letter and all 
the previous legislation of the Board about slavery, be 
considered as withdrawn, and the missionaries be allowed 
to go on in their work, "according to the instructions of 
our Lord and his apostles." The proposition of the mis- 
sionaries was not accepted ; yet, with these terms as de- 
manded by the missionaries lying before them, the com- 
mittee voted, for the ensuing year, the usual annual ap- 
propriation for the Choctaw mission, and continued to do 
the same until the year 1859. 

At the annual meeting in 1856, which occurred at New- 
ark, the Board, now guided by the Senior Secretary, 
seeks to set itself right by renewing the Brooklyn plat- 
form, where it was declared that the Board has no ecclesi- 
astical power and no control over the missionary churches, 
and remitting to the missionaries and their churches all 
questions of internal discipline as belonging rightfully to 
them alone. 

In 1857 the Board express themselves in the strongest 


terms as to the high character and good conduct of the 
Choctaw missionaries, and the Prudential Committee's 
report tells how their stations had received decisive marks 
of divine favor. This report closes with the expression of 
the hope "that he who keepeth covenant and sheweth 
mercy will not forsake this interesting people." Where 
is, meanwhile, the resignation of the missionaries 'i It is 
sleeping and taking its rest. The committee's conscience 
will not, at this time, suffer them to accept it ; they have 
before them the fear of the Covenant-Keeper, who has 
not forsaken and will not forsake the poor Choctaw 
churches. On the other hand^ however, the fear of the 
abolitionists is also before the committee's eyes, and they 
dare not refuse to accept this resignation. It must rest 
for awhile, till the committee can see the path of duty and 
of safety more plain and clear before their eyes. 

But in the annual meeting, September, 1858, the Board 
finds its way out of the difficulty by the aid of Dr. Leo- 
nard Bacon, of Connecticut. He is appointed chairman 
of the sub-committee, on that part of the Board's annual 
report which relates to the Choctaw missionaries. In his 
report he speaks of certain religious bodies in the States 
nearest the Choctaws, among whom there has been a 
"lamentable defection from some of the first and most 
elementary ideas of Christian morality, insomuch that 
Christianity has been represented as the warrant for a 
system of slavery which offends the moral sense of the 
Christian world, and Christ has thereby been represented 
as the Minister of Sin." The report also refers to the fact 
that "our brethren among the Choctaws are in ecclesiasti- 
cal connection with these religious bodies, and that from 
those States the leading Choctaws are deriving their no- 
tions of civilization and of government." The report 
concludes with the expression of a hope that the "Board 
might be relieved as early as possible from the unceasing 
embarrassments and perplexities connected with the mis- 
sions in the Indian Territory." This report was adopted 

Thus the Board has at length been driven to the reso- 
lution of withdrawing its support from the Choctaw mis- 
sionaries and their churches, and that as soon as possible. 


But how is this to be done ? With the prompt decision 
and bold, open, Christian frankness of men who believe 
what they say, namely, that these missionaries and 
churches are chargeable with a ''lamentable defection 
from some of the most elementary ideas of Christian 
morality," and so have made Christianity the warrant for 
the '"sum of all villainies," ''and Christ the Minister of 
Sin" ? Oh ! no. ISot so does the committee express itself, 
but another correspondence is to be opened with the mis- 
sionaries, and it is again Mr. Treat, who is to write to 
these abandoned sinners. I subjoin his letter, with the 
reply of the missionaries. Let the reader notice with care, 
not only the fraternal kindness expressed in this letter for 
the missionaries, but also the cordial and friendly senti- 
ments entertained for the corrupt Choctaw churches. Let 
him also notice the grounds on which the committee pro- 
pose to base the separation, viz., "To free themselves from 
embarrassment and their treasury from loss." Still fur- 
ther, let him notice the reference to the "political agita- 
tions which are likely to take place in coming years." The 
separation was to be effected in 1859, and the war of the 
States was to begin in 1861. 

Letter of Mr. Secretary Treat. 

Missionary House, Boston, October 5, 1858. 
To THE Choctaw Mission. 

Deak Brethren: The proceedings of the board at its recent 
meeting are already in your hands. You will have read with special 
attention the report of the committee on that part of the annual 
report which relates to your mission. This paper, you will remem- 
ber, has the following sentence, "It seems to your committee de- 
sirable that the board should be relieved, as early as possible, from 
the increasing embarrassments and perplexities connected with the 
missions in the Indian Territory." The Prudential Committee, con- 
curring in this opinion for various reasons, respectfully submit for 
your consideration, whether, in existing circumstances, it be not 
wise and expedient that your connection with us should be termi- 

You will readily believe that this suggestion is made witli un- 
feigned regret. We have always felt a deep interest in your labors. 
For the churches which you have gathered, we entertain the most 
cordial and friendly sentiments. For yourselves we have a strong 


fraternal feeling. For the older brethren, especially, we must ever 
cherish the tenderest afl'ection. It is with emotions of sadness, 
therefore, that we contemplate a separation from you. 

We are not able, however, to call in question the facts on which 
the committee at Detroit founded their opinion. We find in our 
churches an increasing desire that the board may be freed from 
the embarrassments above referred to. By reason thereof, it is 
said, the donations to the treasury are less than they would other- 
wise be, to the manifest injury of our churches, on the one hand, 
and of our missions on the other. It is said, too, that the political 
agitations, which are likely to take place in coming years, must of 
necessity aggravate the evil. 

The report to which your attention is now called, refers to diffi- 
culties which you have encountered because of your present rela- 
tion. This consideration you will at once appreciate; the commit- 
tee have no occasion, therefore, to enlarge upon it. They will only 
add that these difficvilties will be likely to increase hereafter. 

But there is another obstacle to our future cooperation which tho 
report, already mentioned, did not notice. The Prudential Com- 
mittee question their ability to keep your ranks adequately filled. 
When tidings came to us a few days ago that our excellent friend 
and brother, Mr. Byington, was dangerously sick, an inquiry of 
painful arose, "Who can take his place?" We had no 
person ready to occupy such a post; and, in view of our past ex- 
perience, we could hardly expect to find one. 

The committee do not propose to raise any question as to the 
agreement of your opinions with those of the board. In any view of 
the case which they have been able to take, the result would be the 
same. The measure is proposed as one of Christian expediency; 
and it is on this ground that we present it for your consideration. 

We have said that this communication is made with unfeigned 
regret. But our sorrow is lessened by the hope that the interests 
of the people among whom you dwell will not suffer. We have 
thought it probable that you would come into connection with that 
missionarj'^ board under which two of your number formerly labored 
— a board which has your cordial sympathy and your entire confi- 
dence. Its missionaries are your "fellow-workers unto the kingdom 
of God" in a common field. This would facilitate a transfer of 
your relation. Ecclesiastically, you would make no change. 

Praying that the God of missions may keep you henceforth, and 
direct all your labors, so that the comfort and joy which you have 
hitherto received therein, shall be forgotten by reason of the more 
abundant coming of the Spirit of promise, I am. 

Very respectfully yours, in behalf of the Prudential Committee, 
S. B. Treat, Secretary of the A. B. C. F. 31. 

what followed. 155 

Eeply of the Missionaries. 
Yakin Okchaya, Choctaw Nation, December 24, 1858. 
To TJiE Rev. S. B. Treat, Secretary of the A. B. G. F. M. 

Dear Brother: We have received your kind letter in behalf of 
the Prudential Committee, under date of October 15th. We cor- 
dially reciprocate to yourself and the committee the fraternal feel- 
ings which you have expressed towards us. 

You refer us to the report in relation to our mission adopted by 
the board at Detroit, and especially to the following sentence, "It 
seems to your committee desirable that the board should be relieved, 
as early as possible, from the unceasing embarrassments and per- 
plexities connected with the missions in the Indian Territory." And 
you add, "The Prudential Committee, concurring in this opinion for 
various reasons, respectfully submit for your consideration, whether, 
in existing circumstances, it be not wise and expedient that your 
connection with us should be terminated." 

You do not mention the source of these "embarrassments and per- 
plexities"; but we presume they arise from our relation to slavery. 
Such have been the peace and quiet amongst us on this subject for 
the past two years, that we fondly hoped the agitation had ceased, 
not to be renewed in such a way as seriously to affect us. Hence the 
action of the board at Detroit took us by surprise. 

We have taken into prayerful consideration the question sub- 
mitted to us by the Priidential Committee. We have sought for 
light on this subject. As for ourselves, through the favor of a kind 
providence, we see nothing in our present circumstances requiring 
a separation. Our position and course in reference to slavery are 
defined in our letter from Lenox, dated September 6, 1856. These, 
so far as they are known to our people, meet with their "cordial 
approbation"; we are therefore going forward without disturbance 
in our appropriate work as missionaries. Whether circumstances 
may not hereafter arise which will render a separation necessary, 
we are, of course, unable to say; but we apprehend no such diffi- 
culty from the Choctaw people, or from others in this region. 

In regard to our course, above mentioned, we would remark that 
it is the same as has been uniformly preached by the mission from 
its commencement more than forty years ago. It had the full ap- 
probation of the secretaries and the Prudential Committee for more 
than five and twenty years, and was finally approved with perfect 
unanimity by the board at Brooklyn in 1845. However great may 
have been our shortcomings in duty, we believe this our course to be 
right and scriptural ; and we cannot believe that it is unwise and 
inexpedient for the board to sustain us in what is scriptural and 


In your letter you say, "We have thought it probable you would 
come into connection with that missionary board under which two 
of your number formerly labored." That board, as you have said, 
"has our cordial sympathy and entire confidence." But that board 
is the organ of the religious bodies in the adjoining States, "with 
which we are in ecclesiastical relations"; and the various religious 
bodies in these States are charged, in the report adopted by the 
board at Detroit, with "a lamentable defection from some of the first 
and most elementary ideas of Christian morality." Is not this an 
implied censure upon us? If not, is there not an inconsistency in 
the above suggestion of the Prudential Committee? We have no 
assurance that, under these circumstances, that board would con- 
sent to a transfer of the mission to their care. 

We therefore refer the question back to the Prudential Commit- 
tee, to be disposed of as they shall see best. We regret that either 
the board or the churches should sustain injury on our account. 
We, however, do not think that, in our labors as missionaries, we 
have done that which, by the gosj^el standard, can be regarded as 
just cause of offence. 

Be assured that it is not a light matter with us to differ with the 
Prudential Committee and the board as respects the question which 
you have submitted to us. In our opinion, important principles are 

We trust and pray that tlie great Head of the church may give 
wisdom from above, that wisdom which is profitable to direct. 

Most respectfully yours, in behalf of the Choctaw Mission, 

C. Kingsbury, Chairman. 

C. C. CoPELAND, Clerk. 

The committee, now at lengtli, despair of either forcing 
or persuading the missionaries in any respect to change 
their ground, either as to their work among the Choctaws, 
or as to their relation to the Board. They will stand just 
where they have stood for forty years, and the changes 
shall all be on the part of their friends in Boston. So the 
Prudential Committee, beat out by the firmness and pru- 
dence of these simple-hearted and clear-headed brethren 
in the wilderness, resolve, in obedience to the advice of 
the Board in 1858, to discontinue the Choctaw mission. 
Of course, Mr. Treat again appears upon the stage. He 
it is who must frame a reply to that remarkable docu- 
ment of C. Kingsbury, Chairman. It is not necessary for 
me to copy any part of that letter. My readers know 
pretty well what reply he will attempt to make. When 


the Board meets in Philadelpiiia in 1859, it confirms the 
act of the committee, and so the affair ends. It certainly 
was, for me, a kind providence which, in 1846, while it 
relieved the Board of its connection with a slaveholding 
missionary, relieved me from my connection with a mis- 
sionary board, which, from the very time of my release, 
was in hot water do'svn to 1859. 

Some reader of this chapter may be disposed to ask 
why was my course so different from that of the Choctaw 
missionaries. The Prudential Committee proposed to 
them a dissolution of their connection with the Board. 
The missionaries refer back the question to the Pruden- 
tial Committee for them to do about it whatever they 
thought proper ; but I decided myself to withdraw from 
the Board without putting the responsibility on the com- 
mittee. The difference in the two cases is manifest. In 
the one case, a missionary, who happened to be a slave- n 
holder, is privately informed by the Secretary that his -• 
continued connection with the Board will bring great 
trouble on them. The way is made open for him to retire, '^' 
if he so choose. The question is simply between the Sec- 
retary and him. There has been no public notice taken 
of his being connected with the Board. There seems also 
to have been a lull in the abolitionists' assault upon the 
Board. If the missionary chooses to retire, he does not 
commit himself to a public acceptance or adhesion to any 
false principles in morals, while possibly he may save the 
Board from any fresh assault about slavery ; so he sends 
in his resignation. 

The other case comes on after a dozen years subsequent 
to this resignation, when the American Board has been 
led, or driven, step by step, to take the extreme position 
that slavery is always and everywhere sinful, and that 
their Choctaw missionaries are involved in the guilt of it. 
Then they propose to these missionaries to acknowledge 
that on this ground they think it desirable and necessary 
that their connection with the Board should cease. The 
missionaries refuse to fall into the snare. They will not 
assent to the fanatical and unscriptural principles pub- 
licly set forth. They throw back on the Prudential Com- 
mittee the necessity of doing just as they think right in 


the premises. It has raised the issue, let it take the re- 
sponsibility before the Christian public of cutting them 
off as unworthy of support; and so in 1859 they are cut 

In this account of what befell the American Board 
from 1840 to 1859, we see certain leaders in New Eng- 
land requiring it to accept their views of slavery and 
slaveholding. But the Board looks at these questions with 
different eyes. There followed, as is well known, severe 
and increasingly severe condemnation of the Board's 
opinions. Then, because the Board will not yield to the 
judgment of these leaders, public opinion is stirred up 
against it, and all Christian people are called on to with- 
hold from it their support. The result is, as everybody 
knows, that the resources of the Board are very much 
crippled. Those who have effected this result are con- 
scientiously religious people, but the consequences are 
very cruel. They extend to all the Board's missions 
throughout the world. They involve missionaries and 
their wives and children who never had anything to do 
with the '"sin of slavery." It is starvation for these ; it is 
also starvation to the heathen. The Bread of Life is to be 
withheld. So far as this Board is concerned, no more 
missionaries to be sent forth ! 'No more Christian schools 
to be established ! No more translations of the Bible ! 
No more multiplication of copies of the Word ! All these 
consequences from difference of opinions ! The Board 
shall believe what we believe, or we will ruin its business, 
and, so far as it is concerned, leave the missionaries and 
heathen to perish together. 

Now, I have an object-lesson to set before those, and 
the like of those, who, merely for opinion's sake, had thus 
destroyed almost one-half the resources and power of a 
magnificent benevolent society in the prosecution of its 

When American missionaries to the Armenians began 
to circulate the Scriptures among these people in their 

* In Vol. XII., pp. 736, 783 of the Southern Presbyterian Revieio 
I published a more full critique of the course of the American Board 
with its Choctaw missionaries. 


modern tongue, earnest souls repaired to them for fuller 
instruction in the gospel. Soon they began to see that 
the creed of their church and its ceremonies were unscrip- 
tural and idolatrous. They could not any more worship 
the Virgin Mary nor the other saints. They would no 
longer confess their sins to a priest, but only to God, nor 
would they worship the holy cross, nor relics, nor pictures, 
and they denied the infallibility of the church, believing 
that the Scriptures are the only rule of faith and prac- 
tice. The Armenian patriarch and priest were greatly 
exasperated as these ideas began to prevail amongst their 
people. Their reproofs and warnings not availing any- 
thing, they soon resorted to persecution. Some of those 
who received these new opinions were first imprisoned, 
and then sent into cruel banishment to far distant places. 
Some suffered the bastinado, or beating with rods on the 
naked feet, in some cases the patriarch and priest in- 
flicting this punishment with their own hands. iSTot a 
few who had shops had their goods thrown into the streets 
and the doors locked against them. Sometimes men were 
forcibly turned out of their own houses into the street, 
and their wives and children with them. Worse than all, 
the fearful anathema was publicly pronounced against 
them, forbidding all men either to buy or sell, give any- 
thing to these guilty parties, or even speak to them ; so 
they were driven out, they and their families, to starve. 

]^ow, no other crimes were charged against these per- 
sons but that they did not believe what their church 
believes. They were all honest, industrious, good citi- 
zens, and subjects of the Porte. But, finding out that the 
Scriptures do not teach the creed of the Armenian 
Church, they no longer received it. The whole trouble 
was a matter of opinions. 

Look now at this picture, and then at the foregoing one. 
Are they not, to a large extent, identical ? The abolition- 
ists of Kew England thought slaveholding a sin. The 
American Board did not agree with them, and resort is 
had to violent measures to compel their acceptance of the 
abolitionist creed. Just so the Armenian ecclesiastics 
held it a sin for their people not to believe what their 
church taught, and they resort to violent measures to 


compel submission. Freedom of opinion and belief is 
the question in both places. In l)oth eases, arguments 
prove inefficient, and force is cruelly employed. Still 
further, the date of both these affairs is one and the same. 
It was in 1845 that the American Board first succumbed 
to the rising power of abolitionism so far as to speak out 
against the wickedness of slavery, and to write to the 
Choctaw missionaries that they should train their church 
members to the duty of emancipating their slaves. But 
in 1847 the Board were made to feel that the missionaries 
had not given proper heed to the instruction about eman- 
cipation given them in 1845 ; and so, two decidedly aboli- 
tionist secretaries having been elected this year, one of 
these is sent out to enforce these instructions to the mis- 
sionaries, and thus 1845, 1846 and 1847 become the 
period when abolitionism gains absolute sway over the 
American Board. Just so in the case of the Armenian 
persecutors — it was early in 1845 that Matteos Patriarch 
resolved on inore vigorous measures of persecution than 
had ever been employed ; so all through 1846 he prac- 
tised the greatest cruelties against the poor Armenians, 
until, through the influence of the British ambassador, 
an end was put to it in 1847. 

Looking back from this year (1897) upon the occur- 
rences between 1846 and 1859, which I have here related, 
it is a humiliating spectacle to behold a great Christian 
institution like the A. B. C. F. M. forced, by fanatical 
principles, to take so unchristian a position. 

But is it not a very remarkable, and a still more humil- 
iating spectacle, to look back and observe how, m almost 
the very next year, these same fanatical ideas tore apart 
these great Christian States and people, and forced them 
into a cruel fratricidal war ? Some say the South went 
to war for slavery. It is more true that the l^orth went 
to war against slavery. 

What was that influence which so aroused the ISTorth- 
ern States against slavery, and made them so clamorous 
for its abolition? Was it Christianity? Christianity, 
both in the days of the apostles and for many long cen- 
turies afterwards, did never so raise her voice. Chris- 
tianity operated, and still always operates, in a much 
profounder, far gentler, and more wholesome manner. 


What lio'ht does the past history of Christianity shed 
upon this question ? Adam Smith, Hallam, and Macaulay 
also, in his History of England^ all speak of the abolition 
of slavery in Europe as having been very silently, and in 
its progress imperceptibly, effected, neither by legislative 
regulation nor physical force. What share Christianity 
had in effecting this abolition has been much disputed. 
Guizot, Muratori, Millar, Sismondi, and the Pictorial His- 
torian of England, allow her very little influence. On 
the other hand, Robertson, the historian of Charles V., 
Biot, an elaborate French author, who got a gold medal 
from the French Academy of Moral and Polemical Science 
for his work De V AhoUtion de VEsclavageAncien en Occi- 
dent, and the Rev. Churchill Babington, of St. John's 
College, Cambridge, who got the Hulsean prize for the 
year 1845, for an essay on the same subject — all these and 
others ascribe the greatest influence to Christianity as 
the only power which has lasted long enough, or been uni- 
versal enough, or unmixed and constant enough, to accom- 
plish such a task. 

But it is curious, indeed, as a question of historical 
philosophy, to see how exceedingly gradual was the pro- 
cess by which Christianity operated in the abolition of 
slavery. ISTot only Guizot, on the one side, declares that 
"slavery subsisted a long time in the bosom of Christian 
society without any great horror or irritation being ex- 
pressed against it," but Biot, on the other side, tells us that 
no "Christian writers of the first three centuries speak of 
the abolition of slavery as a consequence of Christianity." 
And Babington, after quoting many passages from Basil, 
Chrysostom, Jerome and other early fathers, remarks, 
"!N^ot one of these writers even hints that slavery is im- 
proper or unlawful." This same writer also refers to the 
fact that "Christianity has, for eighteen centuries, been 
operating upon European servitude." He also remarks, 
"Christianity has been constantly producing such an 
effect upon society that Avhen one thousand years had 
passed away, strict personal slavery had, in most parts of 
Europe, begun to disappear." * 

* See article on the "Christian Doctrine of Human Rights and 
Slavery," which I published in March, 1849, in the Southern Pres- 
byterian Rcvieiip (Vol. II., pp. 582-583). 


Now, it is true, and will forever remain true, that our 
Southern slavery was just a grand civilizing and Chris- 
tianizing school, providentially prepared to train thou- 
sands of negro slaves, brought hither from Africa by 
other people against our protest, some two hundred years 
ago. Never was any statement more absurdly false than 
that slavery degraded the negroes of the South from a 
higher to a lower position. The truth is, that all the good 
there ever was arising out of the presence of these people 
in this country was due to the fact that, coming hither as 
slaves, they were permitted to remain a long time at the 
school of slavery, to receive there a most valuable educa- 
tion. All this is true, and the Southern people and their 
children's children owe it to themselves and to their fore- 
fathers, to maintain forever these truths against all oppo- 
nents. The negroes were brought to us as naked savages ; 
many of them, perhaps most of them, had been slaves in 
their own country ; of the rest, some had been cannibals. 
They were just the same sort of people with which mis- 
sionaries to Africa now make us familiar in their letters. 
Whenever necessary, as in the case of cannibals and other 
ferocious negroes, the discipline of the school which 
slavery kept was severe. They had to be subjugated by 
their masters, or their presence would have been intoler- 
able. But, for the most part, these poor Africans, two 
hundred years ago, were, as they are now, as reported by 
missionaries, a gentle, docile people. It followed that the 
discipline of the school had no need to be otherwise than 
kind and gentle. Accordingly, do^vn to the period of 
emancipation, the relation betwixt master and slave in 
these Southern States was, on both sides, generally a 
kindly one. This no one can deny who was acquainted 
with the system. There w^ere cruel masters, as there were 
cruel fathers and cruel husbands. To speak of no higher 
motives which every slaveholder warmly cherished (or 
else he incurred inevitably shame and dishonor from his 
neighbors), the master knew that his slave was worth and 
cost money. The master of a horse that has cost him 
much will not treat him cruelly unless more of a brute 
than the very horse. How could the master of a slave so 
far forget his own interest as to be cruel to his slave unless 


he was a brute himself ? In the great and good school of 
slavery, then, our slaves were receiving the most needful 
and valuable education for this life, and very many of 
them for the life to come. The two races were steadily 
and constantly marching onwards and upwards together. 
Hence, when emancipation was suddenly forced upon us, 
it found a good many pupils in the school of slavery who 
were ready to be gi-aduated, while it found all of them 
considerably educated. One hundred years more of the 
school of slavery might have fitted them all for gradua- 
tion. History tells us that European Christianity took 
eighteen centuries to turn slaves into free men. ^jNTorth- 
ern statesmanship gave us the palm. Its decree was that 
our school of slavery, in these Southern States, had re- 
quired only two hundred years to fit naked African sav- 
ages for the American ballot, and to be the statesmen and 
the senators, and, if need be, the presidents of this great 


Five Years" Work as a Missionary to the Negroes 
IN Charleston". 


HAVII^G thus been prevented from returning to my 
Armenian work, my resolution was at length 
taken to devote myself to the religious instruction of the 
negroes in Charleston. 

But what I projDosed to begin appeared to very many 
of the citizens of Charleston a dangerous project. The 
idea of building a church where negroes were to assemble 
for worship, separate from the whites, even though the 
minister was to be a white man, and the Sunday-school 
teachers all white gentlemen and ladies, was not only novel, 
but, to many persons, alarming. And yet the religious 
instruction of the eight thousand colored communicants 
was, by far the larger part of it, actually carried on sep- 
arately from the whites, and, what was more, the real 
teachers were colored men. In the Methodist churches 
the whole body of the negroes, say five thousand in num- 
ber, were divided into classes, and the leaders of these 
classes were all negroes. The same system was, more or 
less, fully carried out in all the other churches. The white 
pastors could not have much oversight of all these classes, 
or even of all these class-leaders. What was in their 
power these white ministers performed, but,necessarily,it 
amounted to but little. I proposed to make a small be- 
ginning of a better plan, considering the interest both of 
black people and of white ones. One argument which I 
used against the prevailing system was that it made no 
adequate provision for seating even eight thousand com- 
municants. The galleries of the white churches could not 
contain more than one-fourth of their number, so that the 
idea of adequate oversight of the colored portion of their 
flocks, by the white pastors, was really absurd. So there 

FIVE years' work AMONG THE NEGROES. 165 

was a call for the beginning of a better system. Yet it 
was insisted by my opponents that there was adequate 
room, and my friend, Dr. Whitefoord Smith, one of the 
Methodist pastors, and a most eloquent and popular and 
worthy one, actually took me with him to measure one of 
their galleries, and convince me of my error. But I think 
the actual measurement rather convinced him that he was 

But the real ground of the opposition which I encoun- 
tered on the part of many in the Charleston community, 
had a history which I have already given, and to which 
I must now again allude. Twenty-five years previously a 
plot had been discovered among the negroes for a murder- 
ous insurrection against the white people. Many negroes 
were arrested and tried, but most of them being found in- 
nocent, were released, yet some thirty-five or forty of 
them were executed. Of these, I myself, when a boy 
eleven years old, saw twenty-two hanged on one gallows. 
A very profound impression was made by these occur- 
rences upon both the white and black population of the 
city. Unfortunately, whether justly or not, a separate col- 
ored church, which had existed some years, with a most 
excellent negro man for its minister, was accused of some 
complicity in the plot. The storm that arose wrecked the 
church. He moved to Philadelphia, and he became sub- 
sequently a bishop in some negro denomination, and the 
members of his Charleston church and congregation were 
all glad to house themselves from the tempest in the col- 
ored membership of the different white churches. The 
consequence of all these events was that the idea of a 
separate church for negroes, which was the plan proposed, 
could not be thought of by hundreds of people in Charles- 
ton without horror. But there were many intelligent, 
sober-minded. Christian men and women who saw noth- 
ing in my plan but what promised to be useful in the 
highest degree, and they gave me their earnest support. 
Dr. Smyth, pastor of the Second church, seconded me 
very earnestly; so did all my brothers, and the four of 
them agreed to supply my support. My father also gave 
me his approbation and countenance. Many leading 
members of the Second church strongly favored what I 


proposed, after hearing a discourse wherein I publicly 
set forth mj views and desires. Charleston Presbytery 
also declared its approval of my plan. The sermon al- 
luded to was preached on the 9th of May, 1847, and was 
afterwards published, with an appendix containing- the 
resolutions that were offered by the Hon. Francis H. El- 
more and adopted by the congregation. The text of the 
sermon was, ''The poor have the gospel preached to them." 
In opening his discourse, the preacher referred to his hav- 
ing been a missionary for over twelve years to the Arme- 
nians, in Smyrna, Constantinople and Asia Minor, and 
to his transfer now being effected to a domestic mission- 
ary work in this city. Various considerations had oper- 
ated to induce his consent to this transfer. One was that 
the impaired condition of his eyesight unfitted him for 
further labors as a translator in that arid climate and 
under that brilliant sky. Another was that, when he went 
forth, it was with the sympathy and support of the Pres- 
byterian Church, and of the Southern churches in partic- 
ular ; but this s;\^npathy and support, naturally of great 
value to him, had long been withdrawn, and he had felt 
himself cut off and isolated. Strong and agitating influ- 
ences meanwhile had been at work, drawing him centre- 
wards, and leading him to feel that it was time for him 
to cast in his lot with his own people. Still another was 
the natural obligation which he felt, and had always felt, 
to do something for the religious instruction of the igno- 
rant colored people of his native city, Charleston. 
The points discussed in the sermon were — 

I. The inquiry who, expressly and particularly, are the 
poor of the city of Charleston; 

II. The fact that the gospel is not adequately preached 
to them ; and 

III. The obligation and expediency of making a fuller 
provision for their spiritual wants. 

The inquiry, "Who are our poor ?" is answered in the 
following terms : "The poor of this city are easily dis- 
tinguishable. They are a class separated from ourselves 
by their color, their position in society, their relation to 
our families, their national origin, and their moral, intel- 
lectual and physical condition. J^owhere are the poor 


more distinctly marked out than our poor ; and yet, 
strange to say, nowhere are the j^oor so closely and inti- 
mately connected with the higher classes as are our poor 
with us. They belong to us. We also belong to them. 
They are divided out among us and mingled up with us, 
and we with them in a thousand ways. They live with 
us, eating from the same store-houses, drinking from the 
same fountains, dwelling in the same enclosures, forming 
parts of the same families. Our mothers confide us, 
when infants, to their arms, and sometimes to the very 
milk of their breasts. Their children are, to some extent, 
unavoidably the playmates of our childhood — grow up 
with us under the same roof — sometimes pass through all 
the changes of life with us, and then, either they stand 
weeping by our bedside, or else we drop a tributary tear 
by theirs, when death comes to close the long connection 
and to separate the good master and his good servant. 

"Such, my friends, are those whom we consider the 
poor of this city. There they are — behold them. See 
them all around you, in these streets, in all these dwellings ; 
a race distinct from us, yet closely united to us ; brought 
in God's mysterious providence from a foreign land, and 
placed under our care, and made members of our house- 
holds. They fill the humblest places of our state of so- 
ciety ; they serve us ; they give us their strength, yet they 
are not more truly ours than we are truly theirs. They 
are our poor — our poor brethren; children of our God 
and Father ; dear to our Saviour ; to the like of whom he 
preached ; for the like of whom he died, and to the least 
of whom every act of Christian compassion and kindness 
which we show he will consider as shown also to him- 

In the second place, the inadequacy of preaching 
amongst us for the poor was conclusively proved by ap- 
pealing to facts. The inadequacy of the provisions made 
consisted chiefly in two things^ first, a want of sufficient 
church accommodations, and, second, a want of suitable 
instruction — instruction adapted to the condition and 
capacity of the negro. On this point it will not be neces- 
sary to quote from the sermon, as the statements pre- 
viously made in this chapter are sufficient. 


In the third place, the obligation and expediency of 
preaching the gospel to the poor was enforced by such con- 
siderations as these: God has committed the gospel to us 
as Christians, that we may preach it to all men, including 
the poor ; the grand distinction of the gospel is that it is 
designed especially for the j)oor, the destitute, the miser- 
able and wretched, the ignorant and the perishing; the 
inestimable value of these classes, as immortal beings; 
the faithful preaching of the gospel to our poor will be 
followed by great advantages to our own children, and, 
therefore, it is our bounden duty to give them the 

In the very first of the thirty-six volumes of the South- 
ern Presbyterian Beview, which had, just about this time, 
begun to be published, there appeared (Vol. II., p. 137) 
from Dr. Thornwell's pen a review of this sermon. He 
expressed his deliberate judgment on various grounds, 
stated by him, that the plan of separate congrega- 
tions is the only j)lan which promises any adequate or 
efficient provision for the religious instruction of our 
slaves. They must not forsake the assembling of them- 
selves together; they must attend upon the ministry of 
the gospel. But the duty of public worship cannot be 
discharged by them, nor the advantages of public instruc- 
tion received, as long as they are doomed to scanty and 
contracted sections of our church edifices, and compelled 
to listen to ministrations which presuppose, for the most 
part, a preliminary knowledge which they do not and 
cannot possess. The same gospel must be differently dis- 
pensed, in order to have its full measure of success upon 
men so diverse in capacities and attainments as the two 
races amongst us. 

'^ There is another point of view," said Dr. Thornwell, 
"in which the expediency of giving them preachers pe- 
culiarly devoted to themselves may be strikingly ex- 
hibited. If ive do not furnish them with men qualified to 
teach them, they will provide themselves wnth others, who 
will pander to their tastes, and develop the religious ele- 
ment of their nature m forms, it may be, incompatible 
with their ovni improvement, and the interests of their 
masters. ISio human laws and no human vigilance can 


prevent them from assembling for the purpose of worship. 
Man is essentially a religions creature, and religion is 
essentially a social quality. As in the days of the Empire, 
neither imperial laws nor imperial cruelty could put an 
effectual interdict upon the occasional and solemn convo- 
cations of the primitive Christians, so it will be with the 
negroes amongst us. They must gratify the religious 
yearnings of their souls ; and to attempt to restrain them 
in the exercise of what they feel to be a high, holy and 
imperative duty, will appear to them as 'tyranny from 
policy, which will fully justify rebellion from principle.' 
Gratuitous abridgments of the liberty of worship, arm 
the strongest feelings of their nature against the authority 
of their master. Our own security is best consulted, not 
by violent resistance to any original impulse of the heart, 
not by tempting to extirpate or destroy it, but by giving 
it a wise direction and turning it into safe and salutary 
channels. Separate congregations, therefore, they luill 
have. If our laws and the public sentiment of the com- 
munity tolerate them, they will be open, public, responsi- 
ble. If our laws prohibit them, they will be secret, fanat- 
ical, dangerous. Teachers they will have. If we supply 
them, they will be teachers indeed, instructing them in the 
mysteries of heaven, and conducting them in the paths 
of holiness, and obedience, and peace. If they are com- 
pelled surreptitiously to supply themselves, they will heap 
to themselves teachers after their o\vn lusts, who will give 
them fanaticism for piety, excitement for devotion, and 
enthusiasm for faith. Is it not safer to gratify the relig- 
ious impulses of their nature by an adequate provision on 
our part, which will at once promote their improvement 
and league their purest and noblest affections on the side 
of their masters 'i To give them the means of worship- 
ping God, to give them preachers who shall manifest an 
earnest and anxious solicitude for the salvation of their 
souls ; to give them houses in which they can meet for 
prayer and praise and the word of exhortation ; to dis- 
play the same care for their eternal and spiritual interests 
which we are accustomed to cherish for their health, food 
and raiment, would be an exhibition of Christian sym- 
pathy, on our part, which could not fail to reach the 



hearts of a race proverbially grateful, and sweeten the 
intercourse betwixt the master and his slave." 

It was ordered, in the providence of God, that very 
soon after this Presbyterian movement, a very similar, 
but entirely independent one, was commenced in the Epis- 
copal Church. The Diocesan Convention of South Car- 
olina, meeting in St. Michael's church, appointed the 
Kev. Paul Trapier to gather a congregation of negroes, to 
be under his individual pastoral instruction and care, 
with some white assistance. I happened to be present, as 
a spectator, in the gallery of the church, when the conven- 
tion took up this matter, and I was greatly cheered by the 
hearty manner in which that eminent body dealt with 
this subject. My impression is that not a single voice 
was raised in opposition. Many of the lay members of 
that body were large slaveholders themselves. There 
were also quite a number of other lay members of the 
Episcopal Church who were quite wide awake to the duty 
of giving sound religious instruction to our negroes. I 
recall the names of two young men, Russell Middleton, 
afterwards President of Charleston College, and Henry 
D. Lesesne, then a student in the law office of James L. 
Petigru, who afterwards was well kno^nl as Chancellor 
Lesesne. These young gentlemen were full of zeal on 
the subject of the white man's duty of directly interesting 
his negro slave in religion. Edward McCrady, Esq., 
and C. G. Memminger, Esq., both eminent lawyers of the 
Episcopal Church, were also very hearty in their appro- 
bation of this work. 

The Rev. Mr. Trapier, at the request of the committee 
appointed by the Diocesan Convention, preached a ser- 
mon, on Sundays in July, in several of the Protestant 
Episcopal churches, and this sermon was published widely 
in the community. His text was taken from Colossians 
iv. 1, "Masters, give unto your servants that which is 
just and equal, knowing that ye also have a master in 
heaven." The preacher then urges the duty of the relig- 
ious training of our servants by the example of Abra- 
ham ; by precepts, both from the Old and the ISTew Testa- 
ments ; by an appeal to humanity, and a sense of "such 
favors as the humblest may confer upon the loftiest." 

FIVE years" work AMONG THE NEGROES. 171 

He then proceeds to set forth the real state of the case. 
"There are, according to the census of 1810, about twenty 
thousand slaves in our city and its suburbs, and not more 
than one thousand of these are in any way connected with 
our six Episcopal churches ; nor in all the other places of 
worship, and of all denominations, it is estimated that 
more than five thousand can be accommodated. This 
leaves an appalling residue of fourteen thousand. Where 
are they ? And what is becoming of them ? They are 
human beings, with thoughts and feelings of their own. 
Their hearts are, in common with those of all the rest of 
mankind, prone to sin and averse from God and holiness. 
Do you imagine that, left to themselves, they will not go 
on from bad to worse, catching and communicating con- 
tagion by association ? Or, do you fancy that they are to 
be kept from doing so by the strong arm of domestic dis- 
cipline, or detected and punished by the vigilance of mu- 
nicipal agency ? N^ay, brethren ! it is notorious that such 
expedients, however useful and indispensable, do not, and 
cannot, effect a cure of this or any other moral disease ; 
nor even arrest its progress ; nor reach the hiding-places 
of its real origin. For these are in the heart ; and it is 
because our servants are not Christians that so many of 
them are given to vices and guilty of offences ruinous to 
themselves, hurtful to their fellows, injurious to us, and 
pestilential to our whole community. , . . Suffer me, 
nevertheless, to inquire of you again. Are you doing what 
you ought and may for their souls ? . . . For the four- 
teen thousand not connected efficiently with any denomi- 
nation of Christians, ... as to any influence upon 
them for spiritual good, I ask again. Where are they ? 
'Sitting in darkness and the shadow of death,' 'without 
Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, 
strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope, and 
without God in the world.' (Ephesians ii. 12.) The 
heathen in our midst, as they have been truly named, nay, 
in one respect, worse off than heathen elsewhere — these at 
our doors are exposed to the evils of civilization, and its 
vices are corrupting them ; while of its moral benefits 
scarcely a knowledge have they, unless by the contrast of 
their own deprivation and consequent spiritual wretched- 


Mr. Trapier, in the second place, then alludes to "the 
action of the late convention by which a committee was 
appointed, not to consider and report, but to make ar- 
rangements for establishing and keeping up the congre- 
gation proposed." He states also that "our every step 
hitherto has been under the tacit sanction and with the 
approval, expressed or implied, by those who are over us 
in church and State." . . . "The convention, by its 
vote electing the committee, has lent its countenance; 
and our bishop, who was not present then, has since sig- 
nified to us, in writing, his good wishes, and bidden us 

In the third place, Mr. Trapier again recurs to the 
question, "What shall we do for our servants V and he 
proceeds to set forth the plan of his committee which in 
every essential particular is the same proposed by the 

But while the Episcopal Church seemed to be quite 
united in approving separate religious worship and public 
instruction for the negroes, to be directly afforded them 
by a white minister and other white teachers, it soon be- 
gan to be clear that I would meet with opposition from 
Presbyterians. A prominent lawyer of Charleston was 
afterwards judge of the United States District Court, 
and subsequently Governor of the State of South Carolina 
during the war, assailed me by name in the Charleston 
Mercury, then the leading political paper of South Caro- 
lina. He was an old school-mate of mine in our boyish 
days. He signed himself "Many Citizens," and por- 
trayed in dark colors the dangerous character of my move- 
ment. This gentleman was a member of the First Pres- 
byterian church, commonly called the Scotch Church, 
and it was well understood generally that the pastor of 
that church earnestly supported him. "Many Citizens" 
wrote two articles in the Mercury before I felt called on 
to reply. Then a third communication from him ap- 
peared. My second followed immediately, and the discus- 
sion was closed by the editor. It had excited very great 
interest. "Many Citizens" sought to arouse the fears of 
a community which had not forgotten the events of 1822 ; 
but he could not prevail against the calm and sober argu- 


ments that were brought forward on the other side. This 
controversy is now out of date, and I need not repeat here 
any of its details. 

By reason of this controversy, the Presbyterian move- 
ment was somewhat retarded ; but the Episcopalians had 
moved quietly on, and had begun the erection of their 
church building. While our walls were just coming out 
of the ground theirs had got to be some ten feet high, 
when a mob of excited people assembled one night and 
were about to pull them all down. Several influential 
citizens, jealous for the honor of their city, appeared in 
time to persuade the multitude to desist, promising that 
they would call a public meeting to test the sense of the 
community on the question. This meeting appointed a 
committee of fifty, of which Daniel Ravenel, Sr., was the 
cliairman, to inquire into the matter. This committee 
corresponded with intelligent gentlemen all over the 
South, to collect information which should lead the city 
to a wise decision. Then another public meeting was 
called, and the City Hall was filled with an eager throng 
of leading men. The report of the committee of fifty was 
read, decidedly favoring the movement as both wise and 
good. The opj)osition was heard, first, through their 
leader. I cannot recall his name, but my recollection is 
that he was no citizen of Charleston, a comparative 
stranger amongst us, and a man of not very good charac- 
ter. Then the Hon. Francis H. Elmore, who had been 
elected to fill out the unexpired term in the United States 
Senate, of the lamented Calhoun, moved the adoption of 
the report in a very eloquent speech. James L. Peti- 
gru, then, in many respects, the topmost citizen of 
Charleston, rose to second it. Mr. Elmore was a member 
of the congregation of the Second Presbyterian church, 
and his wife was a professing member. He had favored 
my project strongly from the very beginning, and I had 
supposed, of course, he would speak; but the speech of 
Mr. Petigru had not been counted on. It was such a 
speech as is not often heard. I wish I could recall and 
report it. The assembly was thrilled as this great citizen 
poured forth his feelings. But when he came to speak 
on the "liberty of teaching" what was true and good to 



all men, his big heart swelled with emotion, and so did 
those of his hearers. All I remember is "the liberty of 
teaching ! why, sirs, that was what brought many of our 
fathers here." Petigru was a Huguenot. The assem- 
bly understood his allusion. ISTot many words were 
required to be added. The question was settled in 
Charleston for all time. The nightmare, which had op- 
pressed the mind and heart of the city for twenty-five 
years, vanished. 

My first place for preaching to the negroes was in the 
basement of the lecture-room of the Second Presbyterian 
church, in Society street. We had a Sunday-school of 
white teachers, male and female, and a large number of 
negro children attended, with some adults, and I had a 
good congregation, after the Sunday-school of grown peo- 
ple, to hear my sermon. I also had prayer-meetings at 
different places, and I had a class of male church mem- 
bers for special instruction. The church in Anson street 
was duly finished and occupied, after being fully paid 
for and solemnly dedicated, with a large congregation of 
the foremost citizens of Charleston being present. Dr. 
Thornwell prepared and delivered a special sermon, at 
my request, suitable to the occasion. It was afterwards 
published, and distributed widely. The building was 
calculated to hold several hundred people, with seats for 
a few whites ; the negroes sat in front of the preacher 
from the pulpit to the door, and the seats of the white 
people were on the right and left side of it, with separate 
entrances for each class. Rev. Mr. Trapier's church was 
built somewhere in Beaufain street, and both these efforts 
were successfully carried on. In my case, after five years' 
labor, the condition of my eyes compelled me to retire, 
and Dr. Girardeau became my successor. Under his 
faithful and earnest preaching many believers were added 
to the church. His labors were so much blessed that the 
first church building in Anson street became too small for 
the congregation, and had to give place to the largest 
church edifice in Charleston. It was erected in Boundary 
or Calhoun street, very near Meeting street. This im- 
mense T3uilding, costing twenty-five thousand dollars, was 
all paid for by the white citizens of Charleston, as an ex- 


pression of their interest in the religions welfare of the 
colored people. The negroes named it Zion. The lower 
story was devoted to the uses of the Sunday-school and 
session, and the meetings for public services were held 
in the wide area of the upper story. The main floor was 
occupied by negroes, for whom the preaching was chiefly 
designed ; but there were galleries on three sides facing 
the pulpit for the white people. Their preacher had a 
golden mouth, as well as Chrysostom. He was raised 
amongst the negroes of the low country, knew them well, 
loved them much, and was much loved by them, and felt 
from a child a desire to preach to them. His congrega- 
tion of blacks was generally not less than one thousand, 
while a good many white people were present in the gal- 
leries every Sunday afternoon. That colored congrega- 
tion needed no music from an organ. Their singing of 
God's praises was magniflcent, and suited well the earn- 
est preaching of the gospel by their minister. He con- 
tinued his labors in that pulpit till called to the army dur- 
ing the latter part of our four years' war, when he Avas 
taken prisoner, sent to Johnson's Island, where he 
preached to his brother ofiicers, and held a Bible-class for 
some who were ministers, whom I have heard speak of 
the lessons they learned there from his lips. I have no 
doubt that the influence of his apostlic instructions to 
thousands and thousands of negroes who frequented his 
ministry during those ten years in Zion church, had much 
to do with the quiet, peaceable and submissive behavior 
of the colored people in Charleston while the war went on, 
just as I am sure the same effect was produced among the 
slave population all over the South, by the sound religious 
instructions they had been receiving, publicly and pri- 
vately, for many years before the war. 

The period at which Dr. Girardeau suspended his 
labors among the negroes was one of great discouragement 
and depression in the whole Southern country. It was 
becoming more and more evident that the ISTorth was mak- 
ing war upon us, to a great extent, on account of the 
negro. The flower of our youth were in the army. They 
were being made a sacrifice to our slaves. The hearts of 
our people went out to our soldiers. The missionary loved 


MY LIFE A:N"D times. 

liis negro flock ; but he was a wliite man, and he couhl not 
but sympathize strongly with his young countrymen who 
were pouring out their blood in the patriotic struggle. 
He took no counsel with me in deciding that it was time 
for him to give his services to our wounded and dying 
soldiers. But he gave me thanks afterwards, when I 
told him he was doing right. On his return, after the 
war, his white brethren, in their dire distress, stood in 
great need of consolation and instruction from him. 
They earnestly called for all his time and strength, but 
he could not bear to desert the negro. ISTot being able my- 
self to state precisely wdiat arrangements were finally 
reached, so that he might hearken, in part, to the call of 
his white brethren, and yet continue his work among the 
negroes, I addressed him in this month of February, 
1897, some inquiries, and I here append his answ^er in his 
own W'Ords : 

My pastoral relation to the Zion church (colored and white) was 
never dissolved (formally) ; but circumstances made it impractica- 
ble for me to serve the colored flock in that relation, just after the 
war. To the Presbyterian congregations of Charleston I preached 
for awhile at their request, and with Dr. Smyth's consent, in the 
pulpit of the Second Presbyterian Church. When Dr. Smyth inti- 
mated his desire to return from Summerton, where he had been a 
refugee during the war, to his church in Charleston, I at once with- 
drew with the white part of the Zion church, and such of the colored 
members as worshipped with us in the Second Church, to the Glebe 
Street Church building, which we borrowed from that church organ- 
ization — which shortly afterwards united xoith the Zion Church 
under the style and title of the latter. The Glebe Street Church was 
absorbed into the Zion Church. It loas not a union of coordinates 
under a new name. Hence the name of the united church was, Zion 
Church worshipping in Glebe street. 

Your special point of inquiry is, how I came to be separated from 
the coloied flock in Calhoun street, to which I had continued to 
minister while preaching to the white charge in Glebe street. By 
what ecclesiastical action did it take place? By the action of the 
General Assembly in Columbus, Miss., in 1874. 

In the fall of 1873 the Sj'nod of South Carolina, meeting in Co- 
lumbia, had a warm discussion of the question of admitting negro 
members into our cliurcli — Mr. Baxter, of Newberry, the chief 
speaker against, and the writer in favor. The story is interesting, 
but too long for me to recite in writing. 1 never, from the begin- 

FIVE years" work AMONG THE NEGROES. 177 

ning, was in favor of separating the two races, of cutting off — as I 
expressed it — the negro race from the white, like casting loose a 
tow-boat from a great steamship in the middle of a stormy ocean. 
But the reply was, the Constitution, the Constitution ! If we admit 
the negro, we must concede him all the rights of membership, official 
as well as others. Very well, said I, finally, have your way. I with- 
draw my opposition. Try the experiment. Experience may decide 
the matter. And then what? Why, the Synod of South Carolina de- 
cided to overture the Assembly in favor of organic separation be- 
tween whites and blacks in the church, and the establishment of an 
independent African Presbyterian church. In that way the subject 
came up before the Assembly of 1874. Further, the Synod of Mis- 
sissippi, led by Dr. B. M. Palmer, submitted a similar overture, 
elaborately drawn, and with the usual eloquence and power of the 
author. This strongly reinforced the South Carolina overture. The 
Committee of Bills and Overtures reported favorably to these over- 
tures, and the Assembly voted that way unanimously, excepting one 
vote — that of the writer. 

The issue was, retention of the colored people in our church or 
organic separation from them. I did not theoretically approve of 
separation, but, as the whole church was going that way, I practi- 
cally went with it, but under protest. 

Now, the circumstances are such that, like yourself, I favor an 
Independent African Presbyterian Church; and hence my course in 
regard to the case of Reuben James, lately before our Presbytery and 
the Assembly. Theoretically, I still think the policy of retention 
the better one; but practically, separation noiv seems a necessity. 
But I cannot write as I wish. I grow tired and sick. 

That Assembly effected an oi'ganic sei^aration between the two 
races ecclesiastically, so that the colored, if it desired to do so, 
could withdraw from any formal relation to the white. Acting upon 
this procedure of the General Assembly, I convened the colored con- 
gregation, explained the situation to them, and gave them the 
liberty, if they pleased, to set up for themselves. Most of the old 
people strenuously opposed the separation, but Young Africa was 
in favor of it. The majority favored the separation, and among 
them, I remember, he who had always striven to be in the matter of 
the singing aut Caesar aut nullus. That was how the breach oc- 
curred. The colored people voted for it, and I gave them the road. 
I would like to discuss this whole matter with you. It is very in- 
teresting to me. But much writing sickens me. Hence I cannot 
write you as fully as I would like to do. 

With sympathy and earnest prayer for you. 

Affectionately yours, Jno. L. Girardeau. 


I turn back now to give some account of the dedication 
of the chnrch in Anson street. 

The chnrch building in Anson street, which was erected 
for the special religious instruction of negroes separately, 
was dedicated on Sabbath evening, 26th day of May, 1850, 
Dr. Thornwell, at my request, preaching the sermon. 
The enterprise had encountered very serious difficulties. 
Some good men had their fears about it. Some bad men 
bitterly opposed it. The whole city had been excited. 
More than once in its history, there had been peculiar 
reasons for excitement and apprehension. MeauAvhile, 
the whole Southern country, placed under the ban of the 
civilized world, had been stung to madness by imjust re- 
proaches against our "cruelty and inhumanity" as slave- 
holders. Here was a church built by Christian slave- 
holders for the religious benefit of the slaves. It was felt 
to be suitable that, in opening this house for this specific 
use, they should set their views before the other Christian 
slaveholders of the South. It was possible that, in this 
way, we might stimulate their faithfulness and diligence 
in the discharge of the duties which spring from the rela- 
tion of masters and servants. It was also possible that we 
might contribute somewhat to the correction of those 
world-wide errors which prevailed as to the true character 
of slavery, as it existed amongst us. Accordingly, the 
congregation that assembled to take part in the dedication 
of the house to the worship of God by negroes, was com- 
posed exclusively of white people. It was a dedication 
by the masters of the slaves. It was an act of intelligent 
Christian citizens, whom the world was charging with the 
dreadful sin of slaveholding. Dr. Thornwell, therefore, 
took his text from Colossians iv. 1., "Masters, give unto 
your servants that which is just and equal, knowing that 
ye also have a master in heaven," and so, we may say, the 
subject of his sermon was the Christian doctrine of 
slavery. I make bold to say that the reader has never 
read a clearer, fairer, stronger, more satisfactory presen- 
tation of this subject. 

The preacher, after remarking that we had been "de- 
nounced with every epithet of vituperation and abuse, as 
conspirators against the dignity of man, traitors to our 


race, and rebels against God," and, after exhorting to 
'"maintain the moderation and dignity which become us," 
opened his discourse with the observation, "God has not 
permitted such a remarkable phenomenon as the unanim- 
ity of the civilized world in its execration of slavery to 
take place without design. This great battle with the 
abolitionists has not been fought in vain. The luuster of 
such immense forces, the fury of bitterness of the conflict, 
the disparity in resources of the parties in the war, and 
the conspicuousness — the unexampled conspicuousness of 
the event — have all been ordered for wise and benelicent 
results ; and when the smoke shall have rolled away, it 
will be seen that a real progress has been made in the 
practical solution of the problems which produced the 

"What disasters," he continued, "we must pass through 
before the nations can be taught the lessons of providence, 
what horrors are to be experienced, no human sagacity can 
foresee. But that this world is now the theatre of an ex- 
traordinary conflict of great principles, that the founda- 
tions of society are about to be explored to their depths, 
and the sources of social and political prosperity laid 
bare; that the questions in dispute involve all that is 
dear and precious to man on earth, the most superficial 
observer cannot fail to perceive. Experiment after ex- 
periment may be made, disaster succeed disaster, in 
carrying out the principles of an atheistic philosophy, 
until the nations, wearied and heart-sickened with 
changes without improvement, shall open their eyes to 
the real causes of their calamities. God will vindicate 
the appointments of his providence ; and, if our institu- 
tions are indeed consistent with righteousness and truth, 
we can calmly afford to bide our time. If our principles 
are true, the world must come to them. It is not the nar- 
row question of abolitionism or of slavery, not simply 
whether we shall emancipate our negroes or not ; the real 
question is, the relations of man to society, of States to 
the individual, and of the individual to States, a question 
as broad as the interests of the human race. These are the 
mighty questions which are shaking thrones to their 
centres, upheaving the masses like an earthquake, and 


rocking the solid pillars of this Union. The parties in 
this conflict are not merely abolitionists and slaveholders ; 
they are Atheists, Socialists, Communists, Red Repub- 
licans, Jacobins on the one side, and the friends of order 
and regulated freedom on the other. In one word, the 
world is the battle-ground, Christianity and atheism the 
combatants, and the progress of humanity the stake. One 
party seems to regard society, with all its complicated in- 
terests, its divisions and subdivisions, as the machinery 
of man, which, as it has been invented and arranged by 
his ingenuity and skill, may be taken to pieces, recon- 
structed, altered or repaired, as experience shall indicate 
defects or confusion in the original plan. The other party 
beholds in it the ordinance of God, and contemplates 'this 
little scene of human life' as placed in the middle of a 
scheme, whose beginnings must be traced to the unfath- 
omable depths of the past, and whose development and 
completion must be sought in the still more unfathomable 
depths of the future — a scheme, as Butler expresses it, 
'not fixed, but progressive, every way incomprehensible,' 
in which, consequently, irregularity is the confession of 
our ig-norance, disorder the proof of our blindness, and 
with which it is as awful temerity to tamper as to sport 
with the name of God." 

Dr. Thornwell continues, "The part, accordingly, which 
is assigned to us in the tumult of the age, is the mainte- 
nance of the principles upon which the security of social 
order and the development of humanity depends, in their 
application to the distinctive institutions which have 
provoked u])on us the malediction of the world. The 
apostle bri(?fiy sums up all that is incumbent, at the pres- 
ent crisis, upon the slaveholders of the South, in the preg- 
nant text, "Masters, give unto your servants that which is 
just and equal, knowing that ye also have a master in 

It is not my ]:)urpose to present the whole of this mag- 
nificent discourse, but only its chief parts, yet I shall en- 
deavor not to break the continuity of Dr. Thornwell's 
thought. He points out how manifestly it is slaves, not 
mere servants, whom the apostle is addressing. Finding 
it impossible to deny that slavery is an element of society. 


is sanctioned by Christ and his apostles, our enemies ad- 
mit that the letter of the Scriptures is in our favor, but 
that their spirit is against us. He proceeds to expose 
the confusion of ideas from which this distinction be- 
tween the letter and the spirit of the gospel has arisen. 
This confusion has arisen, he says, from a two-fold mis- 
apprehension : one, in relation to the nature of the 
slavery tolerated in the letter of the Scriptures, and the 
other in relation to the spirit of Christianity itself. 

1. It is common to describe the slavery which the letter 
of the Scriptures tolerates, as the property of man in man, 
as the destruction of all human and personal rights, the 
absorption of the humanity of one individual into the 
will and power of another. "The very idea of a slave," 
says Dr. Channing, "is that he belongs to another; he is 
bound to live and labor for another, to be another's in- 
strument, and to make another's will his habitual law, 
however adverse to his own." "We have thus," says he 
in another place, "established the reality and sacredness 
of human rights, and that slavery is an infraction of these, 
it is too plain to need any labored proof. Slavery violates 
not one, but all, and violates them not incidentally, but 
necessarily, systematically, from its very nature." In 
other words, in every system of slavery, from the opera- 
tion of its inherent and essential principles, the slave 
ceases to be a person, a man, and becomes a mere instru- 
ment or thing. Dr. Channing does not charge this result 
upon the relation as it obtains under particular codes or 
at particular times or in particular places. He says, dis- 
tinctly and emphatically, that it violates all human rights, 
not incidentally^ but necessarily, systematically, from its 
very nature. It belongs to the very essence of slavery to 
divest its victims of humanity. 

"Slavery," says Professor Whewell, "is contrary to the 
fundamental principles of morality. It neglects the great 
primary distinction of Persons and Things, converting a 
person into a thing, an object merely passive, without any 
recognized attributes of human nature. A slave is, in the 
eye of the State which stamps him with that character, 
not acknowledged as a man. His pleasures and pains, his 
wishes and desires, his needs and springs of action, his 


tliouglits and feelings, are of no value whatever in the eye 
of the community. He is reduced to the level of the 
brutes. Even his crimes, as we have said, are not ac- 
knowledged as wrongs, lest it should be supi)osed that, as 
he may do a wrong, he may suffer one. And as there are 
for him no wrongs, because there are no rights, so there 
is for him nothing morally right, that is, as we have seen, 
nothing conformable to the Supreme Eule of Human 
jSTature ; for the Supreme Eule of his condition is the will 
of his master. He is thus divested of his moral nature, 
which is contrary to the great principle we have already 
laid down: that all men are moral beings, a principle 
which, we have seen, is one of the universal truths of 
morality, whether it be taken as a principle of justice or 
of humanity. It is a principle of justice depending upon 
the participation of all in a common humanity; it is a 
principle of humanity as authoritative and cogent as the 
fundamental idea of justice." 

"If this be a just description of slavery," says Dr. 
Thornwell, "the wonder is not that the civilized world is 
now indignant at its outrages and wrongs, but that it has 
been so slow in detecting its enormities, that mankind, 
for so many centuries, acquiesced in a system which con- 
tradicted every impulse of nature, every whisper of con- 
science, every dictate of religion, a system as monstrously 
unnatural as a general effort to walk upon the head or 
think with the feet. We have, however, no hesitation in 
saying that, whatever may be the technical language of 
the law in relation to certain aspects in which slavery is 
contemplated, the ideas of personal rights and personal 
responsibility pervade the whole system. It is a relation 
of man to man, a form of civil society, of which persons 
are the only elements, and not a relation of man to things. 
Under the Roman code, in which more offensive language 
than that employed by ourselves was used in reference to 
the subject, the apostles did not regard the personality of 
the slave as lost or swallowed up in the propriety of the 
master. They treat him as a man possessed of certain 
rights which it was injustice to disregard, and make it the 
office of Christianity to protect these rights by the solemn 
sanctions of religion, to enforce upon masters the neces- 


sity, the moral obligation, of rendering to their bondmen 
that which is just and equal. Paul treats the services of 
slaves as duties, not like the toil of the ox or the ass, a 
labor exacted by the stringency of discipline, but a 
moral debt, in the payment of which they were render- 
ing a homage to God. 'Servants,' says he, 'be obedient to 
them that are your masters according to the flesh, with 
fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart as unto 
Christ; not with eye-service, as men pleasers, but as the 
servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart ; 
with good will doing service as to the Lord, and not to 
men ; knowing that whatever good thing any man doeth, 
the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he be bond 
or free.' We need not say to those who are acquainted 
with the very elements of moral philosophy that obedi- 
ence, except as a figured term, can never be applied to 
any but rational, intelligent, responsible agents. It is a 
voluntary homage to law, implied moral obligation and a 
sense of duty, and can only, in the way of analogy, be 
affirmed of the instinctive submission of brutes, or the 
mechanical employment of instruments and things. 

"The apostle," Dr. Thornwell continues, "not merely 
recognizes the moral agency of slaves in the phraseology 
which he uses, but treats them as possessed of conscience, 
reason and will by the motives which he presses. He says 
to them, in effect, that their services to their masters are 
duties which they owe to God, that a moral character at- 
taches to their works, and that they are the subjects of 
praise or blame, according to the principles upon which 
their obedience is rendered. 'The blind passivity of a 
corpse, or the mechanical subserviency of a tool,' which 
Dr. Channing and Professor Whewell regard as consti- 
tuting the very essence of every system of slavery, pre- 
cluding, as it does, every idea of merit or demerit, of 
approbation or of censure, never seems to have entered 
the head of the apostle. He considered slavery as a social 
and political economy, in which relations subsisted be- 
twixt moral, intelligent, responsil)le beings, involving 
reciprocal rights and reciprocal obligations. There was 
a right to command, on the one hand, an obligation to 
obey, on the other. Both parties might be guilty of in- 


justice and of wrong ; the master might prostitute his 
power by tyranny, cruelty and iniquitous exactions ; the 
servant might evade his duty from indolence, treachery 
or obstinate self-will. Religion held the scales of justice 
between them, and enforced fidelity upon each by the 
awful sanctions of eternity. This was clearly the aspect 
in which the apostle contemplated the subject. 

'^^The state of things," Dr. Thornwell says, "so graphi- 
cally described and eloquently deplored by the great 
father of Unitarian Christianity in America, is a pal- 
pable impossibility. The constitution of the human mind 
is in flagrant contradiction to the absorption of the con- 
science, will and understanding of one man into the per- 
sonality of another ; it is a thing which cannot be con- 
ceived, and, if it ever could take place, the termination of 
all responsibility on the part of the slave would render it 
ridiculous to labor for his spiritual improvement, or at- 
tribute to him any other immortality than that which 
Indian fables ascribe to the dog as the faithful companion 
of his master. And yet upon this absurdity, that slavery 
divests its victims of humanity, that it degrades them 
from the rank of responsible and voluntary agents to the 
condition of tools or brutes, the whole philosophical argu- 
ment against the morality of the system, as an existing 
institution, is founded. 

"The property of man in man, a fiction to which even 
the imagination cannot give consistency, is the miserable 
cant of those who would storm by prejudice what they 
cannot demolish by argument. We do not even pretend 
that the organs of the body can be said strictly to belong 
to another. The limbs and members of my servant are 
not mine, but his ; they are not tools and instruments 
which 1 can sport with at pleasure, but the sacred posses- 
sions of a human being, which cannot be invaded without 
the authority of law, and for the use of which he can 
never be divested of his responsibility to God. 

"If, then, slavery is not inconsistent with the existence 
of personal rights and of moral obligation, it may be 
asked, in what does its peculiarity consist ? What is it 
that makes a man a slave ? We answer, the obligation to 
labor for another, determined by the providence of God, 


independentlv of the provisions of a contract. The right 
which the master has is a right not to the man, but to his 
labor ; the duty which the slave owes is the service which, 
in conformity with this right, the master exacts. The 
essential difference betwixt free and slave labor is that 
one is rendered in consequence of a contract, the other is 
rendered in consequence of a command. The laborers in 
each case are equally moral, equally responsible, equally 
men ; but they work upon different principles. 

"It is strange that Channiug and Whewell should have 
overlooked the essential distinction of this form of ser- 
vice, as it lies patent in the writings of philosophers who 
preceded them. The definition given by Paley, a man 
preeminently marked by perspicuity of thought and 
vigor of expression, is exactly the same in spirit with our 
own. In the actual condition of society, the intervention 
of a contract is not always a matter of very great moment, 
since it is not always a security to freedom of choice. 
The providence of God marks out for the slave the precise 
services, in the lawful commands of the master, which it 
is the divine will that he should render ; the painful 
necessities of his case are often as stringent upon the free 
laborer, and determined with as stern a mandate what 
contracts he shall make. ^Neither can he be said to select 
liis emplo^Tuents. God allots to each his portion, places 
the one immediately under command, and leaves the other 
not unfrequently a petitioner for a master. 

"Whatever control the master has over the person of 
the slave is subsidiary to this right to his labor ; what he 
sells is not the man, but the property in his services ; true, 
he chastises the man, but the punishments inflicted for 
disobedience are no more inconsistent with personal re- 
sponsibilities than the punishments inflicted by the law 
for breaches of contract. On the contrary, punishment in 
contradiction from sufi^ering always implies responsi- 
bility, and a right which cannot be enforced is a right 
which society, as an organized community, has not yet 
acknowledged. The chastisements of slaves are, accord- 
ingly, no more entitled to awaken indignation of loyal 
and faithful citizens, however pretended philanthropists 
may describe the horrors of the scourge and the lash, than 


the penalties of disgrace, imprisonment or death, which 
all nations have inflicted npon crimes against the State. 
All that is necessary in any case is that the punishment 
should be just. Pain unrighteously inflicted is cruelty, 
whether that cruelty springs from the tyranny of a single 
master or the tyranny of that greater master, the State. 
Whether adequate provisions shall be made to protect the 
slave from inhumanity and oppression, whether he shall 
be exempt from suffering, except for disobedience and for 
crime, are questions to be decided by the law of the land ; 
and, in this matter, the codes of different nations and of 
the same nation at different times, have been various. 
Justice and religion require that such provisions should 
be made. It is no part of the essence of slavery, however, 
that the rights of the slave should be left to the caprice or 
to the interest of the master ; and in the Southern States 
provisions are actually made — whether adequate or inad- 
equate, it is useless here to discuss — to protect him from 
want, cruelty and unlawful domination. Provisions are 
made which recognize the doctrine of the apostle, that he 
is a subject of rights, and that justice must be rendered to 
his claims. When slavery is pronounced to be essentially 
sinful, the argument cannot turn upon incidental circum- 
stances of this system, upon the defective arrangement 
of the details, the inadequate securities which tJie law 
awards against infringement of acknowledged rights ; it 
must turn upon the nature of the relation itself, and must 
boldly attempt to prove that he ceases to be a man who is 
under obligation, without the formalities of a contract, to 
labor under the direction and for the benefit of another. 
If such a position is inconsistent with the essential ele- 
ments of humanity, then slavery is inhuman ; if society, 
on the other hand, has distinctly recognized the contrary 
as essential to good order, as in the case of children, ap- 
prentices and criminals, then slavery is consistent with 
the rights of man, and the pathetic declamation of aboli- 
tionists falls to the groimd. 

"This view of this subject exposes the confusion, which 
obtains in most popular treatises of morals, of slavery 
with involuntary servitude. The service, in so far as it 
consists in the motions of the limbs or organs of the body. 


must be voluntary, or it could not exist at all. If by vol- 
untary be meant, however, that which results from 
hearty consent, and is, accordingly, rendered with cheer- 
fulness, it is precisely the service which the law of God 
enjoins. Servants are exhorted to obey, from considera- 
tions of duty, to make conscience of their tasks, with good 
will doing service as to the Lord, and not to men. 
Whether, in point of fact, their service in this sense shall 
be voluntary will depend upon their moral character. But 
the same may be said of free labor. There are other mo- 
tives beside the lash that may drive men to toil, when they 
are far from toiling with cheerfulness or good will. 
Others groan under their burdens as well as slaves, and 
many a man who works by contract is doomed to an in- 
voluntary servitude, which he as thoroughly detests as the 
most faithless slave who performs nothing but the painful 
drudgery of eye-service. There is a moral bondage, the 
most galling and degrading species of servitude, in which 
he may be held, as with chains of brass, who scorns to call 
any man master on earth." 

Dr. Thornwell here proceeds to say, "There is a free- 
dom which is the end and glory of man, the only freedom 
which the pen of inspiration has commended. It is the 
freedom which God approves, which Jesus bought by his 
blood, and the Holy Spirit seals effectually by his grace ; 
the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. It con- 
sists essentially in the dominion of rectitude, in the eman- 
cipation of the will from the power of sin, the release of 
the affections from the attractions of earth, the exemption 
of the understanding from the deceits of prejudice and 
error. It is a freedom which the truth of God brings 
with it, a freedom enjoyed by the martyr at the stake, a 
slave in his chains, a prisoner in his dungeon, as well as 
the king upon his throne. Independent of time or place, 
or the accidents of fortune, it is the breath of the soul as 
regenerated and redeemed, and can no more be torn 
from us than the atmosphere of heaven can be restrained. 
'If the Son shall make you free, you shall be free indeed.' 
This freedom makes man truly a man ; and it is precisely 
the assertion of this freedom, this dominion of rectitude, 
this supremacy of right, which the apostle enjoins upon 


slaves when he exhorts them to obey their masters, in sin- 
gleness of heart, as imto Christ, to despise eye-service, and 
to do their work as in the eye of God. To obey, under the 
inflnence of these motives, is to be slaves no longer. This 
is a free service, a service which God accepts as the loyal 
homage of the soul, and which proclaims them to be the 
Lord's freemen, while they honor their masters on earth. 
Such slavery might be their glory, might fit them for 
thrones in the kingdom of God. So far was the apostle, 
therefore, from regarding involuntary servitude as the 
characteristic of slavery that he condemned such servitude 
as a sin. He treats it as something that is abject, mean, 
despicable; but insists, on the other hand, that slavery 
dignifies and ennobles the servant who obeys from the 

2. Dr. Thornwell now takes up the question whether, 
admitting that slavery is not absolutely inconsistent with 
moral responsibility, it yet does not strip the slave of some 
of the rights which belong to him essentially as a man; 
and whether slavery is not, in this view, incompatible 
with the spirit of the gospel. This question, he says, com- 
prises the whole moral difficulty of slavery. It is at this 
point that the friends and enemies of the system are 
equally tempted to run into extravagance and excess, the 
one party denying the inestimable value of freedom, the 
other exaggerating the nature and extent of human rights, 
and both overlooking the real scope and purpose of the 
gospel in relation to the present interests of man. 

That the design of Christianity is to secure the perfec- 
tion of the race is obvious from all its arrangements, and 
that, when this end shall have been consummated, slavery 
must cease to exist, is equally clear. This is only assert- 
ing there will be no bondage in heaven. If Adam had 
never sinned and brought death into the world with all 
our woe, the bondage of man to man would never have 
been instituted ; and Avhen the effects of transgression 
shall have been purged from the earth, all bondage shall 
be abolished. In this sense slavery is inconsistent with 
the spirit of the gospel, viz., that it contemplates a state 
of things, an existing economy, which it is the design of 
the gospel to remove. Slavery is a part of the curse 


Avhicli sin has introduced into the world, and stands in the 
same general relations to Christianity as poverty, sick- 
ness, disease or death. In other words, it is a relation 
which can only be conceived as taking place among fallen 
beings tainted with a curse. It springs, not from the 
nature of man as man, nor from the nature of society as 
such, but from the nature of man as sinful and the nature 
of society as disordered. 

Upon an earth radiant with the smile of heaven, or in 
the paradise of God, we can no more picture the figure of 
a slave than we can picture the figures of the halt, the 
maimed, the lame and the blind ; we can no more fancy 
the existence of masters and tasks than we can dream of 
hospitals and beggars. These are the badges of a fallen 
world. That it is inconsistent with a perfect state, that 
it is not absolutely a good, a blessing, the most strenuous 
defender of slavery ought not to permit himself to deny ; 
and the devout believer in revelation would be mad to 
close his eyes to the fact that the form in which it is first 
threatened in the Bible is as a punishment for crime. It 
is a natural evil which God has visited upon society, be- 
cause man kept not his first estate, but fell, and, under 
the gospel, is turned, like all other natural evils, into the 
means of an effective spiritual discipline. The gospel 
does not propose to make our present state a perfect one, 
to make our earth a heaven. Here is where the philan- 
thropists mistake. 

Admit, then, that slavery is inconsistent with the spirit 
of the gospel as that spirit is to find its full development 
in a state of glory, yet the conclusion by no means fol- 
lows that it is inconsistent with the spirit of the gospel, 
as that spirit operates among rebels and sinners in a de- 
graded world, and under a dispensation of grace. The 
real question is, whether it is incompatible with the 
spiritual prosperity of individuals, or the general progress 
and education of society. It is clearly the office of the 
gospel to train men, by virtue of the discipline of tempta- 
tion, hardship and evil, for a state of perfection and 
glory. ISTothing is inconsistent with it which does not 
present obstacles to the practice of duty, which its own 
grace is inadequate to surmount. Whoever, therefore, 


would maintain that slavery is incompatible with the 
present relations of the gospel to man, must maintain that 
it preelndes him, by its very natnre, from the discharge 
of some of the duties which the gospel enjoins. It is 
nothing to the purpose to speak of it generally and 
vaguely as an evil ; it must be shown to be an evil of that 
specific kind which necessitates the commission of sin and 
the neglect of duty. Neither is it sufScient to say that it 
presents strong temptations to sin, in the violent motives 
which a master may press upon a slave to execute unlaw- 
ful commands. This can be affirmed of numberless other 
situations in which none will contend that it is unlawful 
to be foun(h_ The question is, not whether it is the state 
most favorable to the offices of piety and virtue, but 
whether it is essentially incompatible with their exercise. 
This is the true issue. 

The fundamental mistake of those who affirm slavery 
to be essentially sinful, is that the duties of all men are 
specifically the same. Though they do not state the prop- 
osition in so many words, and, in its naked form, would 
probably dissent from it, yet a little attention to their 
reason puts it beyond doubt, that this is the radical as- 
sumption upon which they proceed, all men are bound to 
do specifically the same things. As there are, obviously, 
duties of some men, in some relations, which cannot be 
])ractised by a slave, they infer that the institution strips 
him of his rights, and curtails the fair proportions of his 
humanity. The argument, fully and legitimately carried 
out, would condemn every arrangement of society which 
did not secure to all its members an absolute equality of 
position; it is the very spirit of socialism and commun- 

IS^ow, unless slavery is incompatible with the habitudes 
of holiness, unless it is inconsistent with the spirit of phil- 
anthropy or the spirit of piety, unless it furnishes no 
opportunities for obedience to the law, it is not incon- 
sistent with the pursuit or attainment of the highest 
excellence. It is no al)ridgment of moral freedom ; the 
slave may come from the probation of his circumstances 
as fully stamped with the image of God as those who have 
enjoyed an easier lot ; he may be as completely in unison 


with the spirit of universal rectitude as if he had been 
trained on flowery beds of ease. Let him discharge his 
whole duty in the actual circumstances of his case, and 
he is entitled to the praise of a perfect and an upright 
man. The question with God is, not what he has done, 
but how. Man looketh at the outward circumstances, but 
God looketh at the heart. Hence those moralists are 
grievously in error who have represented slavery as in- 
consistent with the full complement of human duty. 

ISTo proposition can be clearer than that the rights of 
man must be ultimately traced to his duties, and are 
nothing more than the obligations of his fellows to let him 
alone in the discharge of all the functions, and the enjoy- 
ment of all the blessings of his lot. Whatever puts an 
obstruction or hindrance to the complement of his duties, 
is an encroachment upon the complement of his rights as 
a man. Whatever is incompatible with the exercise of his 
moral nature, is destructive of the fundamental law of 
his being. But, as the moral discipline of man is con- 
sistent with the greatest variety of external condition, it 
is consistent with the greatest variety of contingent rights, 
of rights which spring from peculiar circumstances and 
peculiar relations, and in the absence of which a man may 
still be a man. These cannot be treated as a fixed and 
invariable quantity. Dependent as they are upon our 
duties, which, in turn, are dependent upon our circum- 
stances, they fluctuate with the gradations and progress of 
society, being wider or narrower, according to the spheres 
in which we move. It is only by postulating duties for 
the slave which God has not enjoined on him, that any 
show of decency can be given to the declamations against 
the robbery and fraud which have incapacitated him to 
perform them. The slave has rights, all the rights which 
belong essentially to humanity, and without which his 
nature could not be human or his conduct susceptible of 
praise or blame. In the enjoyment of these rights, relig- 
ion demands that he should be protected. 

But, then, there are rights which belong to men in other 
situations, to which he is by no means entitled, the rights 
of the citizen, for example, and the free member of the 
commonwealth. They are not his, for the simple reason 


that they are not essential, but contingent ; they do not 
spring from humanity, simply considered, for then they 
would belong to women and children, but from humanity 
in such and such relations. 

As to the influence of slavery upon the advancement of 
society, there can be no doubt, if the government of God 
be moral, that the true progress of communities and 
States, as well as the highest interests of individuals, de- 
pends upon the fidelity with which the duties are dis- 
charged injevery condition of life. It is the great law of 
providential education that, "to every one that hath shall 
be given, and he shall have abundance ; but from him that 
hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath." 
In this way the reign of universal justice is promoted, 
and, wherever that obtains, the development of the indi- 
vidual, which is the great end of all social and political 
institutions, must infallibly take place. The prosperity 
of the State, at the same time, is secured, and secured, too, 
without the necessity of sudden changes or violent revolu- 
tions. It will be like the vigor of a healthful body, in 
which all the limbs and organs perform their appropriate 
functions without collision or tumult, and its ascension 
to a high degree of moral elevation will be like the growth 
of such a body, silent and imperceptible, the natural re- 
sult of the blessing of God upon the means he has ap- 
pointed. Let masters and servants, each in their re- 
spective spheres, be impregnated with the principle of 
duty ; let masters resolve to render unto their servants that 
which is just and equal, never transcending the legitimate 
bounds of their authority, and servants resolve to cherish 
sentiments of reverence for their masters according to 
the flesh, never falling short of the legitimate claims on 
their obedience, and the chief good of each, as individuals 
and as men, will be most surely promoted, while each will 
contribute an important share to the strength and stability 
of the commonwealth. The feet are as indispensable to 
the head as the head to the feet. The social fabric is 
made up of divers ingredients, and the cement which 
binds them together in durability and unity is the cement 
of justice. 

Beside the arguments drawn from considerations of 


justice and the essential rights of humanity, the incom- 
patibility of slavery with the spirit and temper of the 
gospel is not unf requently attempted to be made out from 
the injunction of the Saviour to love our neighbor as our- 
selves, and to do unto others as we would have them do 
unto us. The principle, however, upon which the precept 
of universal benevolence is interpreted, in this case, 
makes it the sanction of the grossest wickedness. If we 
are to regulate our conduct to others by the arbitrary 
expectations which, in their circumstances, our passions 
and selfishness might prompt us to indulge, there ceases 
to be any other standard of morality than caprice. The 
humor of every man becomes law. The judge could not 
condemn the criminal nor the executioner behead him ; 
the rich man could not claim his possessions nor the poor 
learn patience from their sufferings. If I am bound to 
emancipate my slave, because, if the tables were turned, 
and our situations reversed, I should covet this boon from 
him, I should be bound, upon the same principle, to pro- 
mote my indigent neighbors around me to an absolute 
equality with myself. That neither the Jews, in whose 
law the precept was first formally announced, nor the 
apostles, to whom it was more fully expounded by the 
Saviour, ever applied it in the sense of the abolitionists, is 
a strong presumption against their mode of interpreta- 
tion. The truth is, the precept is simply the inculcation 
of justice from motives of love. Our Saviour directs us 
to do unto others what, in their situations, it would be 
right and reasonable in us to expect from them. We are 
to put ourselves in their situations, that we may duly 
weigh the circumstances of their case, and so be prepared 
to apply to it the principles of universal justice. We are 
to let no motives of indolence, ease or apathy ]3revent us 
from considering their condition. We are to take the 
same interest in them that we would take in ourselves, 
and are to extend to them the same protection of the 
divine law which we would insist upon for ourselves. 
The rule, then, simply requires, in the case of slavery, 
that we should treat our slaves as we should feel that we 
had a right to be treated if we were slaves ourselves ; it 
is only enforcing, by benevolence, the apostolic injunc- 


tion, "Masters, give unto your servants that which is just 
and equal." Do right, in other v^ords, as you would claim 

The instances which are usually urged to prove that 
slavery is inconsistent with the rights of man, unfortu- 
nately for the argument, are not peculiar to slavery. 
They are incidents of poverty wherever it prevails in a 
distressing form ; and a wise system of legislation could 
much more easily detach them from the system of slavery 
than from the deep indigence which is sure to crush the 
laborer where a crowded population obtains. They are, 
at best, only abuses, in the one case, which might be cor- 
rected, while in the other they seem to be inseparable 

It may be worth while to notice the popular argument 
against slavery drawn from the fact, that, as it must have 
begun in the perpetration of grievous ^\Tong, no lapse of 
time can make it subsequently right — prescription can 
never sanctify injustice. The answer turns upon the dis- 
tinction between the wrong itself and the effects of the 
wrong. The criminal act, whatever it may have been, by 
which a man was reduced to the condition of bondage, can 
never cease to be otherwise than criminal, but the rela- 
tions to which that act gave rise may, themselves, be con- 
sistent with the will of God, and the foundation of new 
and important duties. The relations of a man to his 
natural offspring, though wickedly formed, give rise to 
duties which would be ill-discharged by the destruction 
of the child. No doubt the principle upon which slavery 
has been most largely engrafted into society as an integral 
element of its com})lex constitution — the princi])lo that 
captivity in war gives a right to the life of a prisoner for 
which his bondage is accepted in exchange — is not con- 
sistent with the truth of the case. But it was recognized 
as true for ages and generations ; it was a step in the 
moral development of nations, and has laid the founda- 
tion of institutions and usages which cannot now be dis- 
turbed with impunity, and in regard to which our conduct 
must be regulated by the fact of their existence, and not 
by speculation upon the morality of their origin. Our 
world exhibits ever^^vhere the traces of sin ; and, if 

FIVE years" work AMONG THE NEGROES. 195' 

we tolerate nothing but what we may expect to find in a 
state of perfection and holiness, we must leave this scene 
of sublunary distraction. The education of States is a 
slow process. Their standard of rectitude slowly approx- 
imates the standard of God, and in their ages of infancy, 
ignorance and blindness, they establish many institutions 
upon false maxims, which cannot subsequently be extir- 
pated without abandoning the whole of the real progress 
they have made, and reconstituting society afresh. These 
things, moreover, take place under the sleepless provi- 
dence of God, who is surely accomplishing his own great 
purposes, and who makes the wrath of man to praise him, 
and restrains at pleasure the remainder of wrath. 

Enough has been said to show that slavery is not repug- 
nant to the spirit of the gospel in its present relations to 
our race. It is one of the conditions in which God is 
conducting the moral probation of man — a condition not 
incompatible with the highest moral freedom, the true 
glory of the race, and, therefore, not unfit for the moral 
and spiritual discipline which Christianity has instituted. 
It is one of the schools in which immortal spirits are 
trained for their final destiny. If it is attended with 
severer hardships, these hardships are compensated by 
fewer duties, and the very violence of its temptations 
gives dignity and lustre to its virtues. The slave may be 
fitted, in his humble and, if you please, degraded lot, for 
shining as a star in the firmament of heaven. In his 
narrow sphere he may be cherishing and cultivating a 
spirit which shall render him meet for the society of 
angels and the everlasting enjoyment of God. The Chris- 
tian beholds in him, not a tool, not a chattel, not a brute 
or thing, but an immortal spirit, assigned to a particular 
position in this world of -wretchedness and sin, in which 
he is required to work out the destiny which attaches to 
him, in common with his fellows, as a man. He is an 
actor on the broad theatre of life ; and, as true merit de- 
pends, not so much upon the part which is assigned as 
upon the propriety and dignity with which it is sustained, 
so fidelity; in this relation may hereafter be as conspicu- 
ously rewarded as fidelity in more exalted stations. 
Angels and God look not upon the outward state of man ;. 


the poverty, rags and wretchedness of one, the robes, dia- 
dems and crowns of another, are nothiiiii'. Tnio worth is 
the moral vesture of the souL The spirit of obedience, 
the love of holiness, sympathy with God, these are the 
things which make men beautiful and glorious. This is 
true freedom ; these are the things which shall endure 
and flourish with increasing lustre wlicu thrones have 
crumbled in the dust and republics mouldered among the 
ruins of the past. ^ 

In treating slavery as an existing institution, a fact 
involving most important moral relations, one of the 
prime duties of the State is to protect, by temporal legis- 
lation, the real rights of the slave. The moral sense of 
the country acknowledges them ; the religion of the 
country, to a large extent, insures their observance ; but, 
until they are defined by law and enforced by penalties, 
there is no adequate protection of them. They are in the 
category of imperfect, and not of perfect, rights. The 
effect of legal protection would be to counteract whatever 
tendencies to produce servility and abjectness of mind 
slavery may be supposed to possess. It would inspire a 
sense of personal responsibility, a certain degree of man- 
liness and dignity of character which would be at once 
a security to the master and an immense blessing to the 
slave. The meanness, cunning, hypocrisy, lying and 
theft, which accompany a sense of degradation would 
give place to the opposite virtues, and there would be no 
foundation in our social relations for that slavery which 
Cicero defines, ohedientia fracti animi et ahjecti, et arhi- 
trio carentis suo. 

In the different systems of slavery, taken collectively, 
all the essential rights of humanity have been recognized 
by law, showing that there is nothing in the relation 
itself inconsistent with this legal protection. The right to 
acquire knowledge, which is practically admitted by us, 
though legally denied, was fully recognized by the Ro- 
mans, whose slaves were often the teachers of their chil- 
dren and the scholars of the commonwealth. The right 
of the family was formally protected among the Span- 
iards; and the right to personal safety is largely pro- 
tected by ourselves. But, without stopping to inquire in 


what way temporal legislation may most effectually pro- 
tect the rights of the slave, we hesitate not to affirm, that 
one of the highest and most solemn obligations which 
rest upon the masters of the South is to give their ser- 
vants, to the utmost extent of their ability, free access 
to the instructions and institutions of the gospel. The 
injustice of denying to them food and raiment and shelter, 
against which the law effectually guards, is nothing to 
the injustice of defrauding them of that bread which 
Cometh down from heaven. Their labor is ours. From 
infancy to age, they attend on us ; they greet our intro- 
duction into the world with smiles of joy, and lament 
our departure with a heartfelt sorrow; and every motive 
of humanity and religion exacts from us that we should 
remunerate their services by putting within their reach 
the means of securing a blessed immortality. The mean- 
est slave has in him a soul of priceless value. "No 
earthly or celestial language can exaggerate its worth. 
Thought, reason, conscience, the capacity of virtue, the 
capacity of Christian love, an immortal destiny, an inti- 
mate moral connection with God — here are attributes of 
our common humanity which reduce to insignificance all 
outward distinctions, and make every human being" a 
sublime, an awful object. That soul has sinned; it is 
under the curse of the Almighty, and nothing can save it 
from an intolerable hell but the redemption that is in 
Christ Jesus. They must hear this joyful sound or 
perish. For "how shall they believe in him of whom 
they have not heard, and how shall they hear without a 
preacher, and how shall they preach except they be sent ?" 
Our design in giving them the gospel is not to civilize 
them, not to change their social condition, not to exalt 
them into citizens or freemen ; it is to save them. The 
church contemplates them only as sinners, and she is 
straitened to declare unto them the unsearchable riches 
of Christ. She sees them as the poor of the land under 
the lawful dominion of their masters ; and she says to 
these masters, in the name and by the authority of God, 
Give them what justice, benevolence, humanity would 
demand, even for a stranger, an enemy, a persecutor — 
give them the gospel, without which life will be a curse. 


Sweeten their toil, sanctify their live«, hallow their 

The solemnities of this night are a proof that the call 
has not been wholly disregarded among us. The work 
which we here begin is a good work. God grant that such 
work may never cease until every slave in the land is 
brought under the tuition of Jesus of Nazareth ! None 
need be afraid of his lessons. It was said of him on earth 
that he should not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to 
bo heard in the streets. He was no stirrer up of strife, 
no mover of sedition. His "religion, on the other hand, is 
the pillar of society, the safeguard of nations, the parent 
of social order, which alone has power to curb the fury 
of the passions, and secure to every one his rights : to the 
laborious, the reward of their industry; to the rich, the 
enjoyment of their wealth; to nobles, the preservation of 
their honors, and to the princes, the stability of their 
thrones." Insurrection^ anarchy and bloodshed, revolt 
against masters, or treason against States, were never 
learned in the school of him whose apostles enjoins sub- 
jection to the magistrate and obedience to all lawful au- 
thority as characteristic duties of the faithful. Is any- 
thing to be apprehended from the instructions of him 
in whose text-book it is recorded, ''Let as many servants 
as are under the yoke, count their masters worthy of all 
honor" ? Christian knowledge inculcates contentment 
with our lot ; and, in bringing before us the tremendous 
realities of eternity, renders us comparatively indifferent 
to the inconveniences and hardships of time. It subdues 
those passions and prejudices from which all real danger 
to the social economy springs. "Some have objected," 
says a splendid writer,* "to the instruction of the lower 
classes from an apprehension that it would lift them 
above their sphere, make them dissatisfied with their sta- 
tion in life, and, by impairing the habits of subordi- 
nation, endanger the tranquillity of the State; an objec- 
tion devoid, surely, of all force and validity. It is not 
easy to conceive in what manner instructing men in their 

* Robert Hall. Advantages of Knowledge to the Lower Classes 
'(Works, Vol. I., p. 202). 


duties can prompt them to neglect those duties, or how 
that enlargement of reason, which enables them to compre- 
hend the true groimds of authority, and the obligation to 
obedience, should indispose them to obey. The admirable 
mechanism of society, together with that subordination 
of ranks which is essential to its subsistence, is surely not 
an elaborate imposture which the exercise of reason will 
detect and expose. The objection we have stated implies 
a reflection on the social order equally impolitic, invid- 
ious and unjust. Kothing, in reality, renders legitimate 
governments so insecure as extreme ignorance in the peo- 
ple. It is this which yields them an easy prey to seduc- 
tion, makes them the victims of prejudice and false 
alarms, and so ferocious withal, that their interference in 
a time of public commotion is more to be dreaded than the 
eruption of a volcano. 

It is thus Dr. Thornwell set forth the Christian doc- 
trine of slavery. Had my Charleston undertaking been 
productive of no other good than the inducing of Dr. 
Thornwell to prepare this admirable exposition, I should 
not feel that my time and labor had been spent in vain. 
The text itself is the sermon. It either contains or it 
suggests all the ideas which the preacher presented to his 
congregation. The very name which it gives to slave- 
holders, and then to our Lord Jesus himself, is most sig- 
nificant, making it manifest that the slaveholder, in the 
Apostle's apprehension, is not the dreadful character de- 
scribed by abolitionists. If the doctrine of this sermon 
is not the truth of the gospel, the apostle had not dared 
to apply the same name to us and our Saviour ; he had 
made a misnomer in calling us by the name he gives 
to Christ, or he had blasphemed our Lord by ap- 
plying to him a title which befits us, only because it 
covered up all the enormous wickedness of which we were 

These principles, as Dr. Thornwell sets them forth, are 
scriptural. They cannot die. Slavery is dead in the 
South, and the South has no tears to shed over it. But 
these principles cannot die. Could expositions of them, 
like this one, have reached the I^^orth in time, and been 
disseminated far and wide, and fairly considered by all 


that people, the current of subsequent events might possi- 
bly have been changed. 

But, though these principles cannot die, they must 
needs be set forth continually ; because the true 

" Freedom's battle once begun, 
Bcqueatli'd by faithful sire to son, 
Though baffled oft, is ever won." 


" Truth crushed to earth shall rise again; 
The eternal years of God are hers." 

Yes, these principles cannot die, and so, too, though 
slavery be dead, the battle for them must still go on ; be- 
cause the war against Christianity by Atheism, in all its 
varied forms, is far from being ended, and the friends of 
truth must be ceaselessly active in disseminating the prin- 
ciples of the word of God. Dr. Thornwell well says, 
"What disasters it will be necessary to pass through be- 
fore the nations can be taught the lessons of providence, 
what lights shall be extinguished and what horrors ex- 
perienced, no human sagacity can foresee. But that the 
world is now the theatre of an extraordinary conflict of 
great principles ; that the foundations of society are about 
to be explored to their depths, and the sources of social 
and political prosperity laid bare ; that the questions in 
dispute involve all that is dear and precious to man on 
earth — the most superficial observer cannot fail to per- 
ceive. Experiment after experiment may be made, disas- 
ter succeed disaster, in carrying out the principles of an 
atheistic philosophy, until the nations, wearied and heart- 
sickened with changes without improvement, shall open 
their eyes to the real causes of their calamities, and learn 
the lessons which wisdom shall evolve from the events that 
shall come to pass. Truth must triumph. God will vin- 
dicate the appointments of his providence." 


Retirement from the iSTEGRO Work. — Dr. Girardeau 
Succeeds. — Eyes Recuperate from Five Years'" 
Farm Life. — Called to Theological Seminary. 


I GAVE over five years, that is, from 1846 to the close 
of 1851, to the enterprise of establishing a church in 
Charleston for negro instruction separately from the 
whites, but under a white minister and white Sunday- 
school teachers. During these years I was also consider- 
ably occupied in the domestic missionary work of my 
presbytery, and also promoting the interest of our Theo- 
logical Seminary at Columbia in various ways, as in 
carrying on a long correspondence with Dr. McGill, of 
Allegheny Seminary, in the hope of inducing him to be- 
come our professor of Church History and Polity. This, 
however, proved a vain effort, though the correspondence 
was very much protracted. He did come and serve us, 
however, for a little while. 

Early in 1850 there culminated another tremendous 
agitation in the South in respect to disunion. There was 
still the same dissatisfaction with the tariff law, by which 
the government was building up the Xorthern manufac- 
turers at the expense of the Southern agi'iculturists ; but 
another and very dangerous element was now added to 
this dissatisfaction. Abolition sentiment at the ]*^orth 
was now of seventeen years' growth ; the underground 
railroad had been established ; slaves were lured away 
from their homes and masters, and the ISTorth would not 
surrender such fugitives, as she was bound to do by the 
Constitution of the United States ; meanwhile, the South 
was beginning to be flooded with incendiary documents 
designed to rouse up insurrections by the negroes. 
TAventy years ago the question with the South was of nul- 
lification. 'Now it was of secession. My father, now an 
old man of seventy-three, was again on the Union side, 


and very niiich roused. But the excitement by no means 
equalled the period of 1830. I confess that my sympa- 
thies were not with him in this case. Still I was not 
prepared to go to extremes. I had grave doubts about the 
course that was advocated by a great many, and my father 
was so urgent that I should cast my vote against disunion 
that I yielded to his pressure and voted with him. I ap- 
pend here an interesting extract from a letter of Dr. 
Thornwell, addressed to me on this subject, of date, South 
Carolina College, March 8, 1850 : 

The condition of the country is a ceaseless burden on my spirits. 
The prospect of disunion I am unable to contemplate without ab- 
solute horror. Tliat this confederacy can be broken up, and the 
numberless questions arising out of its common interests adjusted 
without war, is a mere dream of the fancy. We must calculate from 
the obvious relations of the parties, upon the most bloody, ferocious 
and unscrupulous succession of hostilities in the annals of history. 
In addition to this, the attempt in the present age, when all the 
elements of disorder, socialism, communism, rabid democracy and 
open atheism are busily at work, the attempt under such circum- 
stances to organize new governments and to frame new constitu- 
tions, will be perilous in the extreme. Political quackery will have 
full scope, and after trying the vile nostrums which the atheistic 
philosophy of Europe has long been preparing for the evils of the 
world, we shall be compelled to fall back upon a military despotism, 
or something not much better. In this reign of anarchy and con- 
fusion, religion must retreat to the caves and the mountains. Our 
missionary operations must all be arrested. Our efforts to spread 
the Bible, to evangelize the country and to convert the world, must 
be abandoned, and darkness must be permitted to cover the earth 
and gross darkness the people. My soul is cast down within me, and 
I have hardly ceased for some weeks past to pray God, day and 
night, in belialf of the country. My hope is only in him. Vain, in 
this crisis, is the help of man. To my mind the dissolution of the 
Union is synonymous with ruin ; ruin to us, ruin to the North, ruin 
to all parties. It is another name for war, cruelty, political experi- 
ments, licentiousness, irreligion, atheism, anarchy. There is no 
telling where the process is to stop. California will certainly set 
up for itself, Texas may tile off, and as slavery dies out in the older 
States of the Southern Confederacy, the elements will be introduced 
of fresh agitations and fresh divisions. I cannot dwell upon the 
subject. May God mercifully turn the tide and send peace and pros- 
perity, at least in our days. 


At the close of 1851, the Rev. Ferdinand Jacobs took 
my phT,ce in the Anson street negro work, until the Rev. 
John L. Girardeau should be able to enter upon it. 

It must have been early in 1852 that I assisted Dr. 
Howe and some other brethren in securing from the 
churches of South Carolina the endowment of a professor- 
ship in Oglethorpe (College at Milledgeville, Georgia. 
This endowment had been promised to the churches of 
Georgia as compensation to them for their endowment 
of a chair in the Theological Seminary, which belonged 
to the synods of South Carolina and Georgia. But years 
had passed, and the South Carolina promise was never 
fulfilled. Considerable irritation between the two bodies 
was the consequence, and an earnest effort began to be 
made by a few of our brethren in this State to remove 
this cause of offence. It was my privilege to visit the 
churches of Harmony Presbytery and aid their pastors 
in securing the full share of this endowment which was 
allotted to each by the synod. Our efforts were successful, 
and great was the joy that followed, when we were able 
completely to fulfill our promises. 

But the General Assembly was to meet that year, on 
the 20th of May, in the city of Charleston, and, of course, 
1 could not set out on my visit to the up-country until 
after that meeting. I was put on the committee of recep- 
tion. There were two delegates from ]^ew England who 
came to the Assembly. One of these was an intimate 
Princeton Seminary friend of mine, the Rev. J. K. Con- 
verse. The name of the other I am not able to recall. He 
was a very nice and intelligent gentleman, who was very 
much alive to everything that concerned our negroes. I 
wanted my friend Converse, of course, to be at my house ; 
and I thought I could also make the other gentleman com- 
fortable, in all respects, if I got him to stay with me. He 
wanted to know everything that related to our slaves, for 
whom he expressed very particular sympathy and affec- 
tion. Of course, he was greatly interested to hear all 
about my church for the colored people. He waited im- 
patiently for Sunday to come, when he promised himself 
the pleasure of attending at their place of worship, and 
joining in religious services with them. He was the more 


interested about this service when he learned that the 
communion of the Lord's Supper would be administered 
on that occasion to the black people, and also to their 
white friends who might be present. Sunday afternoon 
came when he was to accompany us to this service, but he 
could not be found. We looked everywhere for him in 
vain. He had taken himself off. It turned out that the 
idea of a communion season for the two races together, 
when he had once got time to think about it, scared him. 
He was alarmed lest it might happen to him to drink out 
of the same cup of which the negroes had partaken. We 
did not hear much from him about our slaves after this. 

The General Assembly, which was now to begin its 
meeting in Charleston, was of our yet undivided Presby- 
terian Church, and consisted of commissioners from both 
j^orth and South. The retiring ]\Ioderator was my friend 
Humphrey, the same who stood at my side in the excited 
Evangelical Alliance at London in 1846, and was the 
first, after Dr. Smyth, to second my protest there. Six 
years had made him a very eminent minister in the Pres- 
byterian Church. The sermon with which he opened the 
Assembly delighted the people of Charleston very greatly, 
by his elegant references to the Huguenot forefathers of 
many of our citizens. Many people were greatly de- 
lighted with the whole proceedings ; but some of the acts 
of the Assembly gave very great dissatisfaction to many 
sound and earnest Presbyterians. I append here the 
larger part of a letter which Dr. Thornwell wrote me, 
dated 2d June, almost immediately after the dissolution 
of that Assembly : 

What I want specially to write to you about is the course of the 
late Assembly. It has filled me with profound sorrow. Most of its 
proceedings were mere nothings — a series of inanities — but the only 
measures of any consequence that it thouglit proper to adopt were 
steps backward. It has lowered the tone of the church upon every 
subject on which she has heretofore spoken, and manifested a spirit 
of compromise and concession to mere carnal influences of which I 
am heartily ashamed. Things seem to me to have been done in utter 
confusion. Resolutions adopted which nobody understood ; all was 
hurry, and, as a necessary consequence, much was folly, if nothing 
worse. I shall instance in three things: 

1. There was the discontinuance of the Popery sermon. This cir- 


cumstance is significant. It is a concession which ought never to 
have been made. Some of the arguments would have done very well 
if the question were, shall we institute such a sermon? but the ques- 
tion is very different when it assumes the shape of backing out from 
a position already assumed. I regretted this resolution very much. 
I regretted particularly that it should have passed in Charleston 
just at this time. 

2. There was the vote of censure upon the records of the Synod of 
South Carolina. This vote goes much further than any previous 
action of the Assembly, or any other church court. It is a virtual 
declaration that ruling elders are mere cyphers, and the sooner we 
kick them out of our courts the better. The resolution of owv 
Synod did not affirm that their presence was essential to the con- 
stitution of a court, or that its proceedings were invalid without 
them; it affirmed just the opposite of these things, and maintained 
only that it was not regular ; it was not the spirit of our constitu- 
tion (which contemplates an equal number of ministers and ruling 
elders) to organize without them. This, it seems, however, is not to 
be endured. If they happen to be there, they may be allowed to sit; 
if not there, nobody cares; we can get along as well without them. 
What makes this abominable vote still worse, I have seen no one yet 
who knew what he was voting about when he gave his vote. The 
stab was inflicted in the dark. 

3. But the most atrocious of all the proceedings was the resolu- 
tion in relation to the Charleston Union Presbytery. Every single 
distinctive feature of the past testimony of the church, in the great 
struggle which terminated in the rupture of 1837-1838, has here 
been formally or virtually surrendered. The elective affinity prin- 
ciple has been endorsed out and out; the right of every court to 
examine its members surrendered, and the preeminent importance of 
soundness in the faith in the gospel ministry, virtually denied by 
affirming that the boldest of all declarations, that of adherence to 
our doctrinal standards, a declaration which every New-School man 
during our whole controversy repeated ad nauseam, shall be suffi- 
cient, even in cases where there is the strongest reason to suspect 
that these standards are interpreted after a fashion that no Old- 
School man can approve. I cannot express my amazement that such 
a measure could have been swallowed by a General Assembly of the 
Old-School church. 

Things were going on finely among us. Public sympathy was in 
our direction, or getting to be so, in Charleston. We had adopted a 
policy, which surely, but slowly, would have Presbyterianized all 
the independent churches in the low country; everything was play- 
ing into our hands, and we needed nothing but patience and perse- 
verance to succeed. But this measure has thrown us back, and re- 


indorsed the principle of a union in one mongrel court of every 
species of creature that will call itself Calvinist. The effects will 
be deplorable. This Assembly ought to have done what the Assem- 
bly of 1845 did. This same memorial, or one like it, was presented 
to that body, and after being heard or explained, was quietly laid 
upon the table. That Assembly was composed of good men and true. 
I have no idea that ten men can be found in the Synod who will 
obey the injunction. We shall refuse, and appoint a committee to 
argue our case at the bar of the next Assembly. We shall appeal 
from Philip drunk to Philip sober. The resolution will be repealed 
as soon as the case is understood. It is well, however, that we do 
not meet next year at Buffalo at the same time with the New School 
body, as we might have gotten into another love fit, and received the 
whole batch of them, with tears of penitence in our eyes, and hum- 
ble petitions of pardon on our lips, for all past outrages upon their 

I have written hastily just to unburden. I am full, and, as the 
fish-woman said, "I shall burst if I do not let some of the steam 
out." Our poor church is in the hands of God; this is my comfort, 
and it is the only thing which reconciles me to labor for her good. 
Human folly is so provoking, especially when, by one egregious ab- 
surdity, it upsets the work of years, that none of us could have the 
heart to toil on if it were not that God shall make the wrath of man 
to praise him. 

Having been present myself a deeply interested spec- 
tator, and an anxious listener to all that was said, I feel 
bound to say that haste and confusion seemed to me to 
characterize all the work of this Assembly more than any 
reputable quality. 

As to the Charleston Union Presbytery, the action 
taken by the Assembly was exceedingly offensive and un- 
just to all those in Charleston who were connected with 
itself. The Charleston Union Presbytery was a mixed 
body, having been originally formed, as its name implies, 
partly of Congregationalists and partly of Presbyterians. 
For the Assembly to receive such a body into union with 
itself was to endorse the old "plan of union" between 
Congregationalists and Presbyterians, which proved so 
fruitful of disorder in the jSTorthwest, and operated so 
efficaciously to produce the division of the Presbyterian 
Church in 1837 and 1838. Then, again, the Assembly, 
by its action in Charleston, endorsed that vicious princi- 
ple of "elective affinity," alluded to by Dr. Thornwell, 


which had been so productive of heresy, as well as con- 
tention, sixty years ago. According to it, where, in a 
presbytery, serious, or, I might say, fatal differences of 
doctrinal belief prevailed, and rendered harmony impos- 
sible between its members, the body was allowed to dis- 
solve itself, and the various individual members of it, like 
the mixed-up particles of two distinct metals, each seeking 
after its own kind, be reunited into two presbyteries, one 
of Old School and the other of 'New School views, but both 
occupying the very same territory. Any one can see how 
destructive this would necessarily be, not only of purity, 
but also of peace. The Assembly of 1852 made arrange- 
ments for the Charleston Union Presbytery and its own 
Presbytery of Charleston to occupy the very same terri- 
tory, and both to be acknowledged as under its authority. 
"All this mischief" (as Dr. Thornwell writes to Dr. 
Breckinridge on the 28th of June) "was done upon an. 
ex palate statement of the Charleston Union Presbytery, 
which statement was never read in the Assembly at all, 
but referred to a committee, and that committee reported 
by naked resolution. The facts of the case were not be- 
fore the house. The committee reports its judgment upon 
the facts, and that judgment is all that the i\.ssembly had 
regularly before it." Dr. Thornwell well adds : "There 
were the strongest local reasons why the Assembly should 
not have touched this business. The Charleston Presby- 
tery had adopted, and was systematically pursuing, a line 
of policy which in a few years would have extinguished 
independency in the low country. We were gradually ab- 
sorbing all its churches. iN'ew Schoolism Avas dead. All 
we wanted was to be let alone ; but now things are put 
back where they were twenty years ago." 

Accordingly, on the 14th of June I wrote thus to Dr. 
Thornwell : 

If the Assembly deserve blame for their blind and thoughtless and 
unconstitutional action, much more should the commissioners from 
our own presbyteries receive censure for the representations which 
they made, and the representations they did not make, in the case. 

Especially was Mr. B found fault with for his course. He 

capped the climax by assuring the Assembly, contrary to the warn- 
ings we gave him the night before, that the action they were taking 


would please us all, and by imploring them, almost with tears, to 
act a mother's part, and, leaving nothing for the Synod to do, just 
to take both parties and bind them at once together.* As I stood 
there listening to such unwarrantable statements from our own 
representatives, I felt sick of the misplaced charity which reigned in 
the Assembly, and which induced our own brethren to lead that body 
astray. I can be charitable myself when we meet other Christian 
ministers on outside ground. I was associated for twelve years as 
a missionary to the Armenians with New England Congregation- 
alists, and we lived and constantly worked together in perfect 
charity. And, though I sometimes feel that the chief mistake of my 
life was to enter upon foreign missionaiy work in connection with 
the American Board, yet my judgment approves to this day the 
course I pursued while thus associated. Yet, when the question is 
as to receiving into our own church, which has its metes and bounds 
all marked down, a body of men who are not true and real Presby- 
terians, I have no ,use for any luawkish sentimentalism. The char- 
ity which does not guard the doors in such case, I call treachery. 

It should, however, be stated, that this whole unright- 
eous affair was consummated when the Synod, at its first 
subsequent meeting, amalgamated these two bodies into 
one presbytery. 

About the middle of June I set out to search for a home 
in the mountains, with my wife and four children. I also 
took with me my servant, Sarah. For the children and 
this servant, I had a carriage drawn by two horses. I 
had also a good driver. Part of my baggage was attached 
to this carriage; the remainder filled up the hinder part 
of the one-horse buggy, which I drove, with my wife be- 
side me. Carriages, horses and all were conveyed by 
railroad as far as Greenwood, where we spent the night at 
Dr. Calhoun's hotel ; the next day we set out in our vehi- 
cles for Abbeville, thence to Greenville and to Asheville, 

* The Assembly, however, stopped short of ]\Ir. B 's earnest 

petition: but it took order to have the same accomplished. Here 
is the resolution it adopted: "7?eso;ued,That if the CharlestonUniou 
Presbytery shall make known to the stated clerk of the General 
Assembly their adhersion to this General Assembly and its doctrinal 
standards prior to the next annual meeting of the Synod of South 
Carolina, it shall be the duty of the stated clerk to communicate the 
same, without delay, to said Synod ; and the Synod shall thereupon 
enroll them as a regular presbytery in connection with this body." 


'N. C. We also penetrated into Tennessee one day's ride 
looking for a home. How different forty-five years ago 
were the towns I have named, Greenwood, Abbeville, 
Greenville, Asheville, from what each of them has grown 
to be at the period of this writing. They were indeed 
then nothing but small towns ; each of them now a flour- 
ishing city. I had found thus far no rest for the soles of 
our feet. Returning to Greenville, I met the Rev. S. S. 
Gaillard, who was then stationed at Greenville. He was 
about to set out to meet the South Carolina Presbytery, 
near Pendleton, at what was then known as Mt. Zion 
church. That congregation has since put up a fine brick 
building at a better spot, and the old church still stands, 
but is used as a gin-house for packing cotton. Being on 
my way to Clarksville, Ga., through Pendleton, I agreed 
that we should accompany Brother Gaillard to the South 
Carolina Presbytery's meeting. He took us, for the first 
night, to the hospitable dwelling of Major McCann, a 
Presbyterian elder living half way between Greenville and 
Pendleton. His house was well known then as open to 
all Presbyterian ministers on their journeys, and our 
large company was most kindly entertained. The next 
day Major McCann and 1 drove Gaillard's buggy, and he 
occupied a seat alongside of my wife and drove my fiery 
Kentucky mare. i\.s the Major and I drove along, we 
passed by a church building on the right-hand side of the 
road. He said, "That is called the" I^o-Hell Church." 
A Universalist preacher had come along some years pre- 
vious and got this building put up for him to occupy in 
preaching. His doctrine was new to that community. 
As they came to understand what he preached, the build- 
ing got the significant name which the Major had re- 
peated. This sobriquet killed off the stranger's enter- 
prise. His congregation very shortly deserted him en- 
tirely. The logical conclusion to which they had arrived 
was, that if there was no hell, there was no need of any 
church or any preacher, and the building remained shut 

We reached the presbytery's place of meeting towards 
the close of the afternoon, and there I met, amongst other 
ministers, my friend Buist, and renewed my acquaint- 


ance, formed long before, with McaSTeill Turner and 
David Humphreys, whom they now called Father 
Humphreys. With McjSTeill Turner, lately deceased 
after many years' service, I had been intimately ac- 
quainted from our very boyhood. David Humphreys I 
had kno^vn as a young Presbyterian preacher when I had 
travelled in the winter of 1833 through all these up coun- 
try churches, preaching to them about foreign missions. 
I became acquainted now, alsOj with several of the ruling 
elders. One of them, old Mr. Josiah Gaillard, the father 
of the minister, invited me and my family to his house. 
There we met with a very cordial reception, but my 
youngest daughter got sick, and I had to move up next 
day to the village of Pendleton, where I found quarters 
at the old Cherry Hotel, afterwards burnt down. We 
were detained here several days. Mr. Elam Sharpe, a 
Presbyterian ruling elder, undertook to show me around. 
The first place he took me to was Woodburn, which had' 
been the residence, for many years, of Mr, Charles Cotes- 
worth Pinckney, but he had recently sold out to Mr. 
David Taylor. I fell in love with Woodburn at first 
sight — the beautiful ride through its woods up to the 
house, the fine old dwelling itself, the splendid mountain 
view seen from its windows, the beautiful road down to- 
the stable, running over a ridge, with trees filling a hollow 
on the left hand, and on the right hand a romantic forest 
ravine. And, then, beyond the stable the fertile acres of 
bottom land. All these together made a deep impression 
on my fancy. It became clear to my secret thoughts that 
this, with its four hundred and fifty acres, was the home 
I was looking for. Prom Pendleton we went over to 
Clarksville, Ga., visiting Toccoa and Tallulah Falls by 
the way. I had made a promise to the Rev. Mr. Ketchum 
that I would settle nowhere without first seeing Clarks- 
ville and its surroundings. It is a beautiful country, and,, 
moreover, had some personal attractions for us ; amongst 
them, my good old friend and my father's friend, the ex- 
cellent Robert Camjjbell, Esq., a true Irish gentleman, 
and a consistent Christian. But Woodburn had hold of 
my heart. The Pinckneys had named it from a couplet 
in one of Walter Scott's poems, as follows: 


" Where Eeed upon hex- margin sees 
Sweet \^'oodburn's cottages and trees." 

It seemed, indeed, to me a very sweet place. It has 
long been a sweet place, though it has grown to be very 
much larger than when I bought it. It has been forty- 
five years in our family, and belonging now, with all his 
additions and improvements, to my nephew, Augustine T. 
Smythe, it is still a sweet place. I had not long returned 
to Pendleton before it became mine by purchase, and I 
began to repair and enlarge the old mansion, and to erect 
some necessary buildings. I had come to this mountain 
region on account of my damaged eyesight, and I was to 
devote myself to outdoor employment in this delicious 
climate. I had many things to see after, and was con- 
tinually on horseback, and my eyes were very much ben- 

I must have attended the South Carolina Presbytery's 
spring meeting in 1853, though I cannot recall where it 
met. Being transferred from the Charleston Presbytery, 
I was then and there received as a member of the other 
body. So, too, I cannot recall where its fall meeting was 
held, but I remember well how kind my brethren were 
to me in appointing me their commissioner to the next 
General Assembly at Buffalo, K Y., in May, 1854. 

In the fall of 1853, there was a meeting of the Synod 
of South Carolina, in the city of Anderson. The Rev. B. 
M. Palmer, Jr., was then the very much beloved and ad- 
mired minister of our church at Columbia, and the chair 
of Church History and Polity being vacant, a very strong 
desire was felt, by sundry infiuential men, to transfer 
him from the pulpit to that chair. There was very long 
and earnest opposition to this measure, and the debate 
occupied two whole days. We defeated the proposition 
by a very large majority. The friends of the measure 
were greatly surprised and very much disappointed, and 
those Avho opposed it regretted very much that they had 
been forced to take that action. Their decided opposition 
to removing Dr. Palmer from the pulpit was well known 
to those who inaugurated and urged this movement, but 
these men overrated their o^^ti strength, and were con- 
fident of easily carrying their measure through the Synod. 


A good deal of excitement was aroused during this dis- 
cussion. Not one member of the opposition questioned 
the eminent fitness of Dr. Palmer for the vacant chair, 
but considered him as very specially called to the public 
preaching of the glorious gospel. Thus, it was settled by 
the Synod of South Carolina in 1853, that such a pastor- 
ship as Palmer then occupied^ must take precedence over 
a professorship in a Theological Seminary. 

The Buffalo Assembly of 1854 was the first I ever at- 
tended as a commissioner. This was eight years after my 
return from the East. Sitting in the hall of the American 
Hotel at Buffalo, and waiting for the hour to go over to 
the Assembly's first meeting, I saw a gentleman walking 
up and down in front of my seat, and I happened to catch 
a glance of his eyes. I rose immediately, stood before 
him and j3ut my two hands on his shoulders, and, looking 
him fully in the face, I said to him, "Who am I ?" He 
said, "I really do not know." I said, "Look backwards, 
and a good many years." He was still perfectly non- 
plussed. I said to him, "Why, David H. Little, you 
don't remember your room-mate at Union College, and 
those deep religious experiences we passed through to- 
gether ?" His name was Little ; but when we roomed to- 
gether, my person was very little, and I had changed a 
great deal more than he had. We had many a long talk 
after this, and when the Assembly closed, I visited him at 
his residence in Cherry Valley, in 'New York. 

To my great surprise and bewilderment the Kentucky 
brethren, headed by Stuart Robinson, insisted on nomi- 
nating me to be Moderator of the Assembly. This Avas 
purely because I was known to hold the same views as 
Thornwell and Palmer. But Dr. Robert J. Breckinridge, 
who was present, said he would vote for me on the ground 
that, when I returned from foreign service, I had "be- 
come a negro-preacher." He went on to express what I 
think is a true principle, that the honors of the church 
should be paid to the men who had labored and suffered 
for her, only he shoiJd have added this condition, pro- 
vided they are qualified for the office that was to honor 
them. For the office of Moderator I certainly was not 
qualified, for some eighteen years I had been engaged 


in work that did not fit me to preside over the Assembly. 
I had had but little experience as to the proceedings of 
our church courts. 

Of course I was not elected. The chair was occupied 
bj Dr. Henrv A. Boardman, a Seminary class-mate of 
mine, a gentleman and a scholar, who was every way 
fitted to perform the duties imposed on him. And I, ac- 
cording to the Assembly's custom, was made the chairman 
of one of the most important standing committees, 
namely, the Committee of Domestic Missions. Every 
man who happened to be nominated as Moderator always 
received this kind of honor. 

At the Assembly of ISSi I made the acquaintance, per- 
sonally, of Dr. Robert J. Breckinridge, which was very 
valuable to me, and became somewhat intimate as years 
rolled on. Here also I learned to know that other great 
man, Stuart Kobinson. I renewed my college acquaint- 
ance with the somewhat celebrated Dr. McMaster, of New 
Albany Seminary, Ohio. In general, I learned a good 
deal about the condition and affairs of the whole Presby- 
terian Church. 

At the close of the Assembly my wife and I crossed over 
into Canada and visited a little town on Lake Ontario, 
where dwelt the parents of an English lady, with whom 
we were negotiating to obtain her services as governess 
for our three daughters. We had met her in Clarksville, 
Georgia, and, by appointment, we met her again here at 
her father's house. Our agreement with her was per- 
fected, and subsequently, in October, she entered our 
family, and she remained with us until after the war, 
and, after finishing the education of my daughters, she 
went to live Avith one of them, in whose family she still 
abides, and where she expects to close her days. 

October 13, 1854, Dr. Palmer wrote me as follows: "I 
have just returned from the Seceder Synod, where 
Brother Banks and myself were very kindly received ; 
and, perhaps, as much was accomplished as could be rea- 
sonably anticipated at the outset. A similar deputation 
was appointed to attend our Synod, and a committee 
raised to confer with any similar committee on our side. 
I was gratified to find nearly all the leading members 


anxious for the proposed union, but the body, as a whole, 
and especially the members of the church at large, are 
scarcely prepared yet for such a result. I hope we shall 
be patient and forbearing, as far as becomes a proper 
Christian self-respect ; and, if no more, intercommunion 
between the branches will be effected." 

I cannot recall how, precisely, began these efforts to 
effect union with that body and our Synod, but I know 
that, on the part of many in our body, the desire for this 
end was very sincere and earnest. We considered them 
to be strict Presbyterians, and aware of the growing 
laxity of Presbyterian principle amongst ourselves, we 
anticipated, if I. ma,y use a homely phrase, some stiffen- 
ing of our Synod's backbone from the union with these 
Seceder Brethren. They stand apart from us and deny 
us access to the Lord's table in their church, only, so far 
-as I know, on the question of Psalmody. Their position 
is that God has given to his church inspired Psalms to 
sing in his public worship, and that it is, therefore, un- 
lawful to sing in that worship any hymns composed by 
uninspired men. Our position is, that the Christian 
church has been furnished with Christian doctrine as a 
higher development of divine truth than the Jews pos- 
sessed, and may, therefore, well expect to have given her 
also a Christian, though uninspired Psalmody. There 
are some parts of Old Testament Scripture, for example, 
some chapters in Leviticus and ]^umbers, which we do not 
find profitable for reading in Christian congregations. 
And so there are some of the Psalms wdiicli were suited to 
the church in Old Testament times, but which are not 
adapted to the I^ew Testament church. Let no man say 
we are casting reproach on God's inspired word or ordi- 
nances. No one will venture to insist that the Old Testa- 
ment priesthood or the Old Testament sacrifices are dis- 
honored by us, because we hold that they are not suited 
to the Christian church. 

I think our negotiations with the Associate Reformed 
brethren had no practical result. 

In September of this year I was both surj^rised and 
gratified by a unanimous election to the presidency of 
Davidson College. I received letters from Drs. Howe 


and Palmer urging me to postpone my decision of the 
ciuestion, thus brought before me, until after our Synod's 
meeting, when certain plans respecting the Seminary 
were expected to be settled, with which plans my own 
name had been involved, to a considerable degree. I was 
too well aware, however, of my incompetency for the 
presidency of the college to admit of my delaying a reply 
to the proposition from Davidson. 

The summer of 1854 was very much occupied, as just 
now intimated, by our brethren at Columbia and a few 
leading members of the board in plans for the recupera- 
tion of the Seminary. Dr. Thornwell had, many times 
during his connection with the South Carolina College, 
had misgivings whether that was really, in all respects, 
the right place for his life work. Tor many years he had 
filled the professorship of Sacred Literature and the Evi- 
dences of Christianity, being, at the same time, chaplain 
to the college. When, in 1851, he became the president 
he still continued to be chaplain, as well as to fill the 
chair of Sacred Literature and the Evidences of Chris- 
tianity, As a minister of the gospel, there were many, 
in the successive classes of the college, who became his 
spiritual children during their college life. In the 
minds of a great many more he had planted the seeds of 
gospel truth, whose fruits appeared long years after- 
wards. Yet, notwithstanding the fruitfulness of his min- 
istry in that institution, it was kno^^m to his intimate 
friends that he would like to be more directly engaged 
in the service of the church. Still further, the presiden- 
tial office involved too much of the government of the 
institution for his strength. He had too much mere police 
work to do. It was evident that he could not long con- 
tinue in that office. Yet he had instituted some most 
valuable reforms in the management of the college, and 
its friends, for many reasons, were extremely anxious to 
retain him in that office, as well as in the duties of profes- 
sor and chaplain. 

The truth was, there was much to be said on both sides 
of the question of his transfer from the college to the pro- 
fessorship of Theology in the Seminary, which now began 
to be seriously considered by some friends of this latter 


institution. Confessedly, his position in the college was 
one of vast importance to our whole State. Unspeakable 
injury to her youth, and to many of her most influential 
citizens, and to the interests of religion in general, had 
been the result of Dr. Cooper's influence as president of 
the college. The Christian people of the State, with one 
accord, at length had cried out against his longer con- 
tinuance in office. The influence of Presidents Barnwell, 
Thornwell and Dr. Elliott, had in turn succeeded, and had 
seemed, to all religious people, like daylight after dark-_ 
ness. The friends of the Seminary knew well what a 
sacrifice they were demanding of the college, but the 
Presbyterian Church had lent him to the State for a long 
time, and they now stood in great need of his services in 
the education of their rising ministry. At the same time, 
they greatly desired that Dr. Thornwell should devote 
himself largely to authorship. As Dr. Palmer has well 
said, in his Biogra'phy of Dr. Thornwell, "The controlling 
motive with those who advocated his translation to the 
Theological Seminary was that, in the prosecution of its 
sacred studies, he might pour out upon the church and 
upon the world the treasures of knowledge stored up 
through years of patient acquisition. Alas ! that the 
wish, so ardently cherished, should have been only half 
realized ! The reader will not close the perusal of his 
theological lectures, in the first volume of his Collected 
Writings, without a sigh that the church did not have the 
wisdom to effect the change in his position at least five 
years earlier. As Dr. Breckinridge says in a letter, /The 
blade was too sharp for the scabljard.' Too much study 
and too much care had already done their fearful execu- 
tion upon a feeble frame ; and death came in with his sad 
arrest before the great work which the church desired 
Avas half executed." At length (BiograpJiy, pp. 382- 
383) the scheme, which had slowly matured in a few 
minds and was discussed at first only in private circles, 
took shape in definite resolutions prepared by the Board 
of Directors. The venerable Dr. Leland had cheerfully 
and cordially acceded to what was proposed. He was 
willing, in his old age, to vacate the chair of Didactic and 
Polemic Theology, that such an eminent instructor as Dr. 


Thornwell should be secured to succeed him. The board's 
''definite resolutions," above referred to, were ready the 
last of June, or first of July, 1854. They contemplated 
th6 appointment of Dr. Thornwell to the chair of The- 
ology, and of Dr. Palmer to the chair of Church History 
and Polity, which he had been provisionally and gratui- 
tously occupying for some time, in connection with his 
pastorship of the Columbia church. At the regular meet- 
ing of the Synod of South Carolina, on the 15th of ]^o- 
vember, 1851, at Charleston, these resolutions came up, 
and were thoroughly discussed. Dr. Palmer's position 
was fully explained and set before the Synod. He knew 
how desirable it was, on many grounds, to effect the trans- 
fer to the Seminary of our great theologian. He was will- 
ing to be or to do anything which the board proposed, if 
the Synod also concurred, in order to effect this great 
object. Dr. Thornwell was not present at this meeting of 
the SjTiod. His mind had been all along in great perplex- 
ity, having doubts in regard to several points relating to 
the transfer. He wanted, as stated before, to be in the 
more direct service of the church ; but he was serving her 
already in one institution of sacred learning, and the 
change from that to another similar institution did not 
altogether satisfy his longings. Moreover, he had been 
in doubt whether the number of candidates for the min- 
istry in the South was sufiicient to warrant the proposed 
transfer. He was doubtful whether the cheapness of 
living at Danville, as compared with Columbia, would 
not decide many to go to the former place who might 
otherwise be expected to come to Columbia. He had been 
even doubtful whether, all things considered, he might 
not be more useful to the church in the college than at the 
Seminary, and he therefore had contemplated the change 
not without fear, as well as pain. His heart had been 
long and greatly devoted to the college. He felt that 
nothing but the sternest necessity could justify the sac- 
rifice he was called to make, but he had become satisfied 
that that necessity did exist. Things had reached a crisis 
in the Seminary. It was much to be dreaded that, with- 
out some very decisive movement, the next session of the 
Seminary would open with a mere handful of students ; 


and the Synod was certainly lookino- to him to raise up 
the dying institution, lie knew how much was expected 
of him, and he was not willing to undertake the task, 
unless he had his friend and brother Palmer at his side 
to aid him in the effort. Such was the condition of the 
case which was now to be debated. 

The discussion w^hich ensued was long and earnest. 
Great influence had been employed to persuade members 
of the Synod, particularly the elders present, to vote 
against \^'hat was proposed. Many leading men in the 
State were bitterly opposed to the measure. Some of 
these had sons whom they were desirous to have educated 
at the South Carolina College under Dr. Thornwell. 
Many prominent Presbyterians, influenced by these and 
other honorable motives, stood out against the transfer. 
As has been intimated already, much could be said on 
behalf of the college, and much was said. But the Sem- 
inary also had very strong friends on the floor, and, for a 
good while, the issue seemed to be doubtful. Amongst 
other things, it was maintained by the former class that 
Dr. Thornwell could not be induced to leave the college, 
and not a few members of the Synod seemed to accept this 
statement. It had leaked out that I had in my pocket Dr. 
Thornwell's written statement of what really were his 
ideas, and I was urged by many to produce it, but I had 
reasons for not complying immediately. At length, when 
the subject had been thoroughly discussed on its own 
merits, I produced the letter, and had it read by the clerk 
of Synod. It was listened to with breathless interest. 
Here is the letter: 

South Carolina College, Xovember 15, 1854. 
INlY Dear Brother : 1 was very much mortified that Brother 
Bishop left this morning without my seeing him, as I had resolved 
to send you a note by him. It may not be too late yet. What I 
have to say it this: I cannot consider the call to the Seminary with- 
out provisions made for an adequate support. I do not expect the 
salary wliieh I now get, but I will not undertake to live on two 
thousand dollars. If an adequate support is secured, and it is the 
impression of the Synod, expressed by a large majority, that I 
ought to take the theological cliair, and no providential hinderances 
should interpose, or plain intimations that I ought to stay where I 
am. I have made up my mind to go. ^Vith much love. 

Your friend and brother, J. II. Thornw^ell. 


This commiinication made it manifest to all what was 
Dr. Thornwell's own. judgment in the case. The vote 
which followed convinced him what was the impression of 
the Synod. On the 29th of ISTovember he tendered his 
resignation of the presidency of the college, but was met 
hy the trustees, as once before, when called to a church 
in Baltimore, with the enforcement of the law, which 
required a year's notice before the resignation could take 
effect. He was not, therefore, actually released until the 
4th of December, 1855, when his successor was elected, 
and he immediately began his work in the Seminary. Im- 
mediately, also, Dr. Palmer and I began our effort to raise 
forty thousand dollars for the Thornwell professorship. 

We began our work with Georgia, and from the three 
cities of Augusta, Savannah and Athens, which were all 
that we visited, we obtained $4,672.50. We proceeded to 
Alabama, and, from various churches in that State, got 
$5,264. We went on to Xew Orleans, and there spent 
several weeks, obtaining $2,865. Finding it necessary to 
return homeward, Charleston gave us $17,783. From 
'South Carolina Presbytery we got $5,448. From Edisto 
and John's Island we got $4,000. These amounts foot 
up $40,032.50. 

These figures I take from my original memoranda, 
made forty-three years ago, but I will not vouch for their 
absolute correctness. What we obtained was, some of it, 
in cash, but chiefly in notes^ hearing interest, and payable 
in one, two and three years to Andrew Crawford, treas- 
urer of the board. I have no doubt they were all, or 
nearly all, paid in due time. We ceased our work when 
we had got to the forty thousand dollar mark. We might 
have gone on and obtained further generous subscriptions 
from churches in Georgia, as well as from Bethel and 
Harmony Presbyteries, and I cannot, at this long dis- 
tance of time, explain exactly why we did not pursue that 

The Presbyterians of ]^ew Orleans all fell in love with 
Dr. Palmer, and I soon began to anticipate what shortly 
came to pass. At the spring meeting of Charleston Pres- 
bytery, in 1855, there was presented a very earnest call 
for him to become their pastor. This was breaking up 


the plan which the Synods of South Carolina and Georgia 
had laboriously constructed for the Seminary. Accord- 
ingly, presbytery, after earnest debate, refused to put the 
call into Dr. Palmer's hand. A second call, from the same 
church, came before us at our fall meeting, and presby- 
tery thought it proper, in the circumstances, to refer the 
question to the S^mod, which met at Columbia. A num- 
ber of those who, at Anderson in 1853, had opposed 
Palmer's removal from the pulpit to the Seminary, still 
maintained their ground, and all these were ready to sus- 
tain the ISTew Orleans call. On the other hand, some of 
these very men, viewing, as most important to the inter- 
ests of our church, Thornwell's, and, with him. Palmer's, 
transfer to the Seminary, were now anxious to defeat the 
call from Xew Orleans. Many were the able speeches 
made, both for and against that call, and, for a long time, 
the issue was doubtful. Dr. Palmer very candidly and 
fully explained his position. He was desirous to accept 
the call, and ^Ji'each the gospel in that great city of the 
Southwest, but he was still willing, as a year before, to 
be guided by the Synod, yielding his convictions to their 
judgment. He was Avell understood on all hands. The 
chief argument for the call, as many stated it, was "the 
manifest leadings of Providence" in its favor. It seemed 
to me that what they called the leadings of Providence 
were nothing but very natural and very reasonable wishes 
of certain good people in New Orleans. They knew a 
good preacher when they heard him, and this opportunity 
had been several times enjoyed by them. They desired 
to have him with very great desire, and were determined 
to make every effort to get him. Other large and impor- 
tant churches, perhaps to the number of fifteen or twenty, 
had had the same desire, only they had not pursued the 
fulfillment of it with such avidity. Was it possible, I 
asked, that, in all these different cases, "the leadings of 
Providence" had been perfectly manifest, and yet Divine 
Providence could not effect its own desired end ? Then, 
Dr. Thornwell took up this argument from the leadings of 
Providence, and tore it all to pieces. Pie said Moses 
might have reasoned that the leadings of Providence were 
pointing him to the Egyptian throne. He was the 


adopted son of the kino;'s roval daughter. He had every 
qualification for the place, and, probably, everybody in 
Egypt was snre of his succeeding to it; but Providence 
really designed him, and was preparing him, for a very 
different office. We are not competent to interpret the 
leadings of Providence. When considered by us most 
clear in favor of something that we wish, they are, often- 
times, not the real expression of God's purpose and plan. 
The word is our only rule, but we need the Holy Spirit 
to guide us in applying the rule. Even Abraham, when 
God called him to the sacrifice of Isaac, did not know 
what really was the divine will, until the very moment 
when about to put the knife to his son's throat. So, said 
Dr. Thornwell, Dr. Palmer cannot know what is to be 
his duty respecting this call, until this Synod's vote on 
the solemn question before us shall make it known to him. 
This set the question in its true light before every mem- 
ber of the body. I rose and asked Dr. Palmer if he would 
consider it a grievance should his brethren refuse to let 
him have his manifest preference in this matter. He 
answered that it had just been well stated, that we were, 
on this occasion, the appointed exponents of the divine 
will to him, and he trusted he would feel it no grievance 
if the divine will were to bring on him a fever. There 
was immediate silence in the Synod ; every man felt that 
Palmer's comparison settled the question. The vote was 
called for, and, by a very large majority, the call was put 
into his hands and was accepted. Dr. Thornwell was very 
much aftected as the voting went on. I happened to be 
sitting by his side. In his characteristic simplicity, and 
with a mournful tone, he whispered, "I feel as if I were 
going to a funeral." Then he whispered to me again, "If 
the vote is for iSTew Orleans, I shall nominate you in his 
place." I whispered in return, "Oh ! don't do that, for I 
should not be able to accept." In a little while, the ques- 
tion of a successor to Dr. Palmer came up, and Thorn- 
well went straight on and nominated me, and I was 
elected. I felt very much as I did, when, at the college 
commencement in 1853, I heard him making certain an- 
nouncements in Latin of proceedings by the trustees, 
amongst them, that I had received the degree of Doctor 


of Divinity. I took what he said, on both occasions, as 
honor put on me by one whose wondrous intellect, accom- 
panied, as it was, with learning, both profound and va- 
ried, were never matched by any man I liave personally 
known. Of course, I did not immediately decline. 
Thornwell had taken me by surprise. I could not but 
take time to consider the question. After the Synod had 
adjourned, whether I declined earlier or later, the matter 
could not well be mended. The Synod could not well be 
called together for another election. It would be very 
expensive, and, perhaps, impossible, to get together at 
any place, an adequate representation of the whole body. 
So, therefore, I had time to consider. I began to see very 
soon how many and serious were the difficulties in my 
way. I had added other lands to my original purchase. 
Improvements, numerous and varied, had been com- 
menced, which had to be finished, and that under my own 
eye. It would be very difficult to sell my plantation 
Avithout serious loss, and, to put it under the care of an 
overseer for eight months in the year, while I should be 
in Columbia, was objectionable in many respects. But 
my greatest difficulty I have not jet stated. My brother 
William's death, in 1853, made it necessary for me to 
become the guardian of his family, and to take charge of 
the education of his five young children. I had induced 
his widow to bring them and live at Pendleton. I could 
not go and leave them behind. I had to sell her place, and 
that without any loss. Had I given out publicly that I 
was compelled to move, without delay, to Cohmibia, I 
would have been put to great disadvantage as to the sale 
of her property. Had I committed it to the care of some 
agent, and gone off to Columbia, it would still have be- 
come a forced sale, involving loss. Thus I acted under 
the strong conviction that there was no providential duty 
that would require this neglect of her interest at my 

On the other hand, my farm life and outdoor occupa- 
tions for some years had greatly benefited my sight. I 
had no wish to continue farming, now that the necessity 
seemed to have passed away. I had become anxious to 
return to the proper business of a gospel minister. To 


teacli the history and politv of the church would be an 
occupation much to my taste. If Thornwell desired me 
as a co-professor, I was much more than willing to stand 
at his back. So the call I had received was every way 
very attractive to me. But, just here, I have to state 
that, during my whole life, I had been obliged, on many 
important occasions, to disappoint my honored father. 
He wanted me to go to Germany and become a great 
scholar, but I felt bound to decline his generous oifers, 
and become a foreign missionary. When I was obliged 
to leave my foreign work, I know I disappointed his ex- 
pectations, although he did not, as I had feared, make 
any opj)Osition to my becoming a negro missionary in 
Charleston ; but, on the contrary, he bought for me a 
fine house to live in. Hardly had he settled me in this 
nice dwelling than the state of my eyes compelled me to 
leave Charleston, and the house was thrown on his hands 
to be disposed of. Very soon he established me on a very 
desirable farm and dwelling near Pendleton; and here, 
now, I was going to propose another new and altogether 
unexpected plan of action ! What else could he think of 
me than that I was a rolling stone that never would 
gather any moss ? He was, indeed, very much opposed to 
this new idea, and so were my brothers and the whole 

It was not possible for me to run counter, very soon, to 
all the opposition Avhich I met. But I hoped, after some 
delay, to overcome it all. Yet, as I look back now, over 
more than forty years, what I should have done was to 
have declined the call made by the Synod. 

I was elected in November, 1856. On the 7th of the 
next month I received from Dr. Girardeau a very urgent 
letter, giving reasons why I ought to accept the call. It 
was just such an argument as one, then the negro mission- 
ary in Charleston, might very naturally employ with the 
former negro missionary in Charleston whom he had suc- 
ceeded. It was to impress on me what an opportunity I 
would have to direct the minds of my classes in the Sem- 
inary to this great field of negro evangelization, in which 
we were both so much interested. At the opening of the 
next year, viz., on the 27th of January, 1857, Dr. Breck- 


inridge also writes me from Danville, "I hope you have 
gone or will go to Columbia; it w^ould take long to tell 
why — but it seems to me very clear you should go : clear 
on personal accounts; clear on public accounts; espe- 
cially clear on Seminary accounts. There has taken place 
in our church a great reaction as to vital religion and it? 
true foundations within twenty years; and, of late, that 
reaction has thrown into our seminaries, for the training 
of our ministers, a portion of its OAvn force, to which it 
is of incalculable importance to give a permanent lodg- 
ment exactly .there. To make this at once efficacious and 
permanent requires more than one man, more than one 
frail human existence in each seminary ; while, therefore, 
no one can expect more from Thornwell than I do, be- 
cause no one knows more thoroughly how great a work 
he can do, I feel it to be of great consequence that men 
like-minded should be with him, to stand in his place if 
he falls, to work to the same great ends while he abides. 
As to special facts, I know nothing, but they ought to be 
wonderfully clear and powerful, as, it seems to me, to 
keep you from this Avork." Both these letters were very 
impressive, but, on the 10th of December, 1856, Dr. 
Thornwell had sent me one which proved much more so. 
He says, "In relation to yourself, the difficulties which 
are gathering or have gathered around you, only render 
your duty the more manifest. Your external call was 
clear and unambiguous ; it was, indeed, very remarkable. 
The internal one must be equally obvious, if you will 
only reflect upon the state of your mind beforehand. You 
wanted the door open, and you professed a willingness to 
make any sacrifices to enter it. . God has opened it and 
put you to the trial. He has thought you worth trying, 
and, therefore, father and brother and sister are permit- 
ted to rise up against you, to give you the opportunity of 
showing that his voice is louder in your ears than theirs. 
The case to me is very plain, and T shall really trendile 
for you if you decline. Your mouth must be shut against 
any prayer, hereafter, for a field of ministerial labor. 
God may say, 'I called and you refused.' " If, in any 
way, it were proper to speak of myself in connection with 
the three "mighties," Farel, Calvin and Thornwell, I 


luio-ht say Thornwell's expostulation with me and liis 
awful reference to the ear of the Almighty being shut 
against any future prayer of mine, terrified me as much 
as Farel's denunciation of God's wrath against Calvin, if 
he did not immediately begin to preach at Geneva, ter- 
rified the reformer, and at once began to control his con- 
duct. I certainly did want to be set free from my en- 
tanglements, and, very mercifully, the day of my deliver- 
ance was nigh. 

A hint was somehow conveyed to me that Mrs. John C. 
Calhoun, widow of our great Senator, admired the place 
of my sister, in the immediate neighborhood of which she 
had just purchased a cottage, and had come to live there. 
I determined at once to ride over and see if I could sell 
the property to her. The sun was setting as I mounted 
my horse, and, if I ever did pray in my life, I besought 
the Master, as I rode along, that he would prosper me on 
my errand, and so enable me to obey his providential call. 
Mrs. Calhoun admitted that she liked the place, but ob- 
jected to the price I asked. I explained to her that I was 
in such a position of responsibility as absolutely prevented 
my reducing it at all. I told her the original price of the 
house and seventy-five acres of land, with the repairs and 
improvements that I had made, had cost my sister six 
thousand and four hundred dollar?, and that I was bound 
to obtain exactly that sum to a cent. She felt the force 
of this announcement, and only replied, "But what shall 
I do with my cottage ?" I asked her what was the price 
of that cottage, with the acres attached to it, and she told 
me twenty-five hundred dollars. I said immediately, 
"Mrs. Calhoun, I will take your cottage, at that price, as 
part payment of my sister's property." So much was set- 
tled then. I rode home thankful and rejoicing. IText 
day I rode to the village and sold Mrs. Calhoun's cottage 
for twenty-five hundred dollars to Mr. John T. Sloan. 
The necessary papers and securities were all at once ar- 
ranged, and every installment was paid by each party, 
with interest, on the very day it became due, Mr. John 
Lorton acting as Mrs. Calhoun's agent. I was once more 
a free man. My father said to my brother Robert, "John 
managed that affair very well." Far better than this, it 


was evident that God had not yet slnit his ear to my 
prayers. I repaired, without delay, to Cohimhia, and be- 
gan my work in the Seminary, continuing it till the vaca- 
tion in May. The following month I purchased a house,^ 
and, at the close of the vacation, I moved my sister's fam- 
ily, together with mine, to Columbia. 


Literary Work, '\Vritinc4, Editixg^ Publishing. — 
Seminary Life. — Calvin^s Institutes. 

THE first religious newspaper published in Charles- 
ton, that I remember, was the Charleston Observer^ 
which began to be published somewhere about 1825, 
though I have an indistinct impression that there was one 
which preceded this. The editor of the Charleston Ob- 
server was the Rev. Benjamin Gildersleeve, a strong man 
and a sound Presbyterian, whose son is the eminent Pro- 
fessor Gildersleeve of Johns Hopkins University. The 
editor became quite prominent and very useful in the Old 
and Xew School controversy. He had, at one time, also, a 
little tilt with John England, the famous Roman Cath- 
olic bishop of Charleston, in which he came oif quite vic- 
torious. Here it occurs to me to introduce a laughable 
incident of his useful life. He opened, at one time, a 
private school for young ladies, which he kept on his own 
premises. One of my sisters, now seventy-six years old, 
was a pupil, and she remembers seeing the eminent pro- 
fessor, then a small lad, come in to recite his Latin lesson. 
There was a big round table sitting in the middle of the 
school-room. Basil either did not know or would not 
study his lesson, and the Rev. Benjamin rose to chastise 
the lad, who ran round the table, and his father after him 
in successful pursuit. All this in the presence of a lot of 
young ladies who, probably, sympathized more with the 
boy than with their preceptor. But, behold! what grand 
results have followed that strict parental discipline. 
Here, now, is both comfort for a boy coming under faith- 
ful discipline, and encouragement for a teacher faithful 
enough to administer it. 

After a long and successful editorial career in Charles- 
ton, Mr. Gildersleeve was induced to remove to Rich- 
mond, Va., and become editor of the Watchman and Ob- 

228 my life and times. 

"The Southekx Peesbyteriax Weekly/'' 

After Mr. Gildersleeve's departure from Charleston, 
the Synod of Georgia, in 1846, determined to issue a suc- 
cessor to the Observer. Early in 1847, at a meeting in 
Milledgeville, the Rev. Washington Baird was appointed 
editor, and the above mentioned name chosen for the 
paper. The first number appeared at Milledgeville on 
the 25th of August. It was removed to Charleston at the 
end of 1852, and the first number from that oflSce was 
issued January 5, 1853, Rev. Washington Baird still its 
editor, Baird and Frazer, proprietors, W. Y. Paxton, 
publisher. On April 6, 1854, the proprietorship was 
changed, and it passed into the hands of a considerable 
number of gentlemen in the different Presbyterian 
churches of the city; Rev. J. L. Kirkpatriek, D. D., edi- 
tor, and Rev. Edwin Cater, assistant editor. Mr. Cater 
withdrew December 7, 1854, and in July, 1857, Rev. B. 
E. Lanneau took his place. Dr. Kirkpatriek, being pastor 
of the Glebe Street church in Charleston, would not be- 
come editor Avithout the assured help of some regular con- 
tributors, and the writer became one of these from May 4, 
1854. Dr. Kirkpatrick's editorship continued until the 
close of 1857. From that time the Rev. H. B. Cunning- 
ham became its editor and proprietor. From him it was 
purchased by the writer, and removed to Columbia, the 
first number appearing ISTovember 1, 1860. The Rev. 
A. A. Porter became its editor, and was to be supported 
by the paper, and later the Rev. James Woodrow under- 
took to look after the accounts and finances, and for this 
service was admitted as part proprietor. Dr. Thornwell 
became a frequent contributor, and, by his aid and that of 
others, its eminent editor soon gave it a high reputation 
and a wide circulation. We made no money, however, 
and the war between the States coming on soon, it was 
kept up with great difficulty, until the burning of Colum- 
bia by William Tecumseh Sherman gave it a death blow. 
Dr. Woodrow had the courage to revive the paper in 
1865, overcoming many and very great difficulties. His 
brother-in-law. Rev. Dr. Joseph R. Wilson, and Jesse A. 
Ansley, Esq., of Augusta, with the ^^Titer, became his 
<?oadjutors. The expense of its publication under the cir- 


cumstances was very heavy for men whom the w^ar had 
ruined. The first named two were obliged soon to retire, 
and, after a very few years, the writer was also obliged to 
forsake its courageous reestablisher. But he was deter- 
mined that it should live, and, for more than a quarter of 
a century, continued its publication, editing it with con- 
summate ability. The Rev. W. S. Bean then became its 
proprietor and editor, removed it to Clinton, S. C, but, 
after a few years, gave place to J. F. and W. S. Jacobs, as 
proprietors and publishers. The Rev. J. Ferdinand Ja- 
cobs is its editor-in-chief, with seven associate editors in 
various Synods. It bids fair to run an honorable and 
useful career. 

"The Southern Peesbytebiats" Review.'" 

In June, 1847, Rev. Dr. George Howe, with Dr. Thorn- 
well and the Rev. B. M. Palmer, established the Southern 
Presbyterian Review in Columbia. The Rev. Dr. 
Thomas Smyth, of Charleston, assisted them greatly 
from the beginning, and constantly, down to the time of 
his lamented death. The writer's name also appears in 
the first volume, and he soon became co-editor and fre- 
quent contributor, and continued as such down to the end 
of the thirty-sixth volume, when the publication was sus- 
pended. On the list of its frequent contributors appear 
the names of Dabney, Leighton Wilson, J, A. Waddell, 
Girardeau, Lefevre, Peck, Stuart Robinson, A. W. Miller, 
A. A. Porter, James A. Lyon, Enoch Pond, J. T. L. Pres- 
ton and Bocock ; whilst there were also occasional articles 
from R. J. Breckinridge, Professor Joseph LeConte, Pro- 
fessor Gildersleeve, J. R. Wilson, Barbour, Quarles, J. L. 
Martin, S. T. Martin, Samuel M. Smith, B. B. Warfield 
and other well-known and valuable writers, too numerous 
to be named. Running from 1847 to 1885, its thirty- 
six volumes cover a very interesting term of years. Polit- 
ical, educational, moral, ecclesiastical, theological discus- 
sions were rife in those times. The war was coming on, 
and the ideas that led to it stirred men's minds and hearts. 
The Presbyterian Church, like other evangelical denomi- 
nations, was to be divided. A branch of it was to arise 
more soimd in its theology and more scriptural in its 


order than its elder sister had come to be. The organiza- 
tion and the progress of this new body and the history of 
its revision of the Form of Government, Eules of Disci- 
pline and Directory of Worship must needs provoke con- 
sideration and discussion. All these subjects are ably 
treated by different writers in successive volumes of the 
Soutlieni Presbyterian Revieiv, and they who possess a 
full set of this venerable publication know how to value it. 

Teaching Church History and Church Polity. 

1 gave instruction, chiefly by text-books, on these sub- 
jects for seventeen years in the Theological Seminary at 
Columbia. Whatever I know of either I learned by 
teaching it. When, after a four years' course, I grad- 
uated at Princeton Theological Seminary, I had, like the 
graduates ordinarily, only a smattering of all the differ- 
ent subjects there so ably taught. It cannot well be 
otherwise for the ordinary student. The course of in- 
struction is altogether too wide to be thoroughly taken in 
during three years. Twelve years' residence as a mis- 
sionary among the Armenians and other Christian 
churches of the East added something, of course, to my 
knowledge of these subjects ; but it was as a professor in 
the Seminary I became really a student of them. The 
truth is, the best way to learn anything is to begin to 
teach it. To educate means to educe, that is, to draw 
forth or lead forth. Por the teacher to draw forth de- 
pends very much upon the scholar ; but every earnest 
teacher will necessarily educate, that is, lead forth, his 
own mind. I know I myself learned a good many things 
during these seventeen years of teaching, but how much 
I taught my classes I cannot guess. This much I know 
well, however : woe to the Presbyterian minister who 
imagines that he knows it all when he has gone through 
a full course at the Seminary, and does not then begin in 
earnest to teach himself all he can possiljly learn during 
his whole ministerial life on every part of his course at 
the Seminary ! 

Text-Books of Church History. 

Mosheim's Ecclesiastical History is a learned and very 
valuable work, but I soon abandoned it as mv text-book. 


althongli, as I have been credibly informed, Addison 
Alexander said that, after trying a good many others, he 
came back to Mosheim, as, on the whole, the best text-book 
for his use. One great objection to it was its chopping up 
arbitrarily into successive centuries a history which has 
a continuous life, and which should run on in one con- 
tinuous course. His treatment of the subject as to a cer- 
tain round of points in every particular century is calcu- 
lated to be wearisome to the student. Moreover, his work 
is confined to the Christian church, whereas, since the 
church began at the very fall of man, its history should 
also begin there. Professor Kurtz's Manual of Sacred 
History and his text-book of church history, taken to- 
gether, enabled me to cover the whole historv from the 
very beginning. His Manual carries the student briefly, 
but instructively, through the Old Testament and down to 
the coming of Christ. His second work is also a brief, but 
a sufficient, guide down to the Reformation, and from the 
Reformation almost to the present time. But Professor 
Kurtz is a Lutheran, and therefore his history must fail 
on certain points to be satisfactory to a Calvinistic 
teacher. Another extremely valuable text-book of church 
history I found in Killen's Ancient Church: Its History, 
Doct7'ine, Worship and Constitution, Traced for the 
First Three Hundred Years. The author of this most 
valuable work was Dr. William Killen, professor of Eccle- 
siastical Polity and Pastoral Theology, Belfast, Ireland. 
This work was published by Charles Scribner in 1851), 
and formed for the student of Church History a capital 
introduction to the subject of Church Polity. 

Text-Books on Chukcii Polity. 

Bannerman's Church of Christ is a valuable work on 
Church Government, and both interested and profited my 

The Assertion of the Government of the Church of 
Scotland by Gillespie, perhaps the very foremost man in 
the Westminster Assembly, although the youngest, was 
also introduced to my classes, and was very useful to 

But when I began my life in the Seminary, Dr. Thorn- 


well said that he was carrying his classes in Theology 
through the first three books of Calvin's Institutes, and 
proposed that I should make the fourth book a text-book 
on the subject of Church Polity and the Sacraments, 
"for/' said he, "I do believe in Calvin's doctrine of the 
sacrament." I acted on his suggestion, and made The 
Institutes the foundation of my instructions on those sub- 
jects, until his lamented death, in 1863, necessarily broke 
up the arrangement. 

AVhat Calvin says on the first of these two topics is 
briefly, but very strongly, set forth. The principles he 
lays down are taken directly from the Scriptures, and 
whoever masters his statement of them must needs be 
])oth a sound and well furnished Presbyterian. 

Pakt I. — Calvin on Church Goveenment. 

The whole treatise is in three parts : First, The Church, 
in thirteen chapters; second, The Sacraments, six chap- 
ters ; third, Civil Government, one chapter. 

Of the thirteen chapters about the Church, the first 
three portray the true church of God as set forth in the 
Scriptures, but they also present to us, by way of con- 
trast, a very striking and vivid picture of the apostate 
church of Rome. The Fourth Chapter furnishes Calvin's 
account of the primitive church. 

In the Fifth Chapter he describes how utterly the 
papacy has corrupted the original form of government ; 
in the sixth he makes plain from the Scriptures how base- 
less is the fabric of the Romish See ; and in the seventh 
he traces the beginning and rise of the pontificate, until it 
reached a point where the liberty of the church was de- 
stroyed in the complete overthrow of all church rule. 
These three chapters I pass entirely over as not indisjien- 
sable to a setting forth of Calvin's views of church gov- 
ernment, which is all that I propose. This omission of 
what he says about Romish errors I shall freely make in 
all the remaining chapters wherever it occurs. 

Chapter Eight treats of Church Power as to Articles of 
Faith under the three heads. Doctrine, Legislation, and 
Jurisdiction. The ^inth Chapter discusses the Councils 
of the Church and their authority to deliver dogmas. 


Chapter Ten treats of the Law-making; Power. Chapter 
Eleven treats of the Jurisdiction of the Church. Chapter 
Twelve treats of the Discipline of the Church, and its use 
in censures and excommunication. Chapter Thirteen 
treats of Vows and the danger of entanglement by them. 

As to the sacraments, I shall, in like manner, aim only 
at a summary of Calvin's doctrine, not pretending to dis- 
cuss all that Rome has invented about the sacraments. 

The iirst of these thirteen chapters on the Church be- 
gins by stating the church's relation to God. She is an 
institute established by him for the nourishment of our 
faith. Then follows the statement of the church's relation 
to us. She is our mother, of whom we are born and by 
whom we are nourished, trained and governed until we 
are divested of mortal flesh. 

In the very outset we here find Calvin deducing from 
Scripture the principle of jus divinum preshyterii. God 
'^has appointed pastors and teachers. He has invested 
them with authority (eos aiictoritate instruxit) ." They 
get it from him and not from the people. Certainly, it is 
incredible that God, who is a jealous God, should be in- 
different to the order of his church, or that Christ should 
be a king, and not reveal any organization for his king- 

He goes on to teach that the church is to be considered 
in two aspects, one as visible, the other as invisible, and 
that God has never had but one church on the earth, being 
the one true body of the one true Head, Jesus Christ. 

He then proceeds to teach from Scripture that the 
church, even considered as visible, is our mother ; is to be 
had in great reverence ; has the word and the sacraments 
lodged with her ;. that, apart from this word and these 
sacraments, there is no ordinary possibility of salvation, 
so that abandonment of the visible church is sin, and if 
unrepented, will be fatal ; to depart from her is to go 
away from the truth which alone can save ; for it is to 
separate from a body of which Christ is the Head. 

Still further it is deduced from Scripture that we must 
sul)mit to be trained in and by the visible church ; that 
the conflict of the ungodly in all ages, has been against 
being thus trained ; that to neglect this public ministry 



for private reading of the word is to dissolve communion 
with tlie clmrcli ; that the communion of saints is de- 
stroyed unless, with one consent, we observe the order 
God has appointed in his church for learnino- and making 
progress ; that, to attempt any worship not ordered by 
God, is to introduce adventitious fictions {adventitia fig- 
menta), one church after one sort and another after an- 
other, all alike unwarranted and unacceptable, to the de- 
struction of church unity, because that requires the strict 
observance of the appointed order. 

In Part Second of this First Chapter, Calvin treats 
more fully of the church in the two aspects in M'hich the 
Scriptures present her. First, the true invisible church 
consists of all the saints or real believers now on the 
earth, and also all the elect from the beginning. The 
visible church consists of the whole body of those who 
profess and observe the Christian religion, and their chil- 
dren. This body contains many hypocrites, tolerated for 
the present. Calvin teaches that we are to believe the 
invisible, but venerate the visible and cultivate her com- 
munion. God has given us marks by which to know the 
visible church, not applicable to individuals, but only to 
bodies. For individuals we are to exercise the judgment 
of charity, because the most abandoned and despaired of 
are sometimes by his grace recalled to life. 

The marks of a true visible church are the word 
preached and heard sincerely, and the sacraments ad- 
ministered in their integrity. Any ecclesiastical body 
which shows these marks we must accept, for Christ has 
promised to be there, and that his word shall produce 
fruit. Thus we apply the marks to churches, but indi- 
viduals we must treat as brethren, until legitimately de- 
prived of a place among the people of God. 

In Part Third of this First Chapter, Calvin treats of 
The Necessity of Cleaving to the Church Catholic and of 
The Refutation of Schismatics. The church catholic 
(that is, universal) consists of the multitude of professors 
in all nations. 

The foundation of this necessity is the value God sets 
upon communion with his church. No man may with 
impunity spurn her authority, or reject her admonitions, 


or resist her counsels, or make sport of her censures, far 
less revolt from her and violate her unity. Whoso con- 
tumaciously alienates himself from any church in which 
true ministry and sacraments are maintained, God re- 
gards as a deserter of religion. To violate her authority he 
considers the impairing of his own. She is called "House 
of God," ''Pillar and ground of the truth," "Spouse of 
Christ," "His hody," "His fullness." To forsake her is 
to aim at destroying his truth, and is a perfidious viola- 
tion of the sacred marriage he has condescended to con- 
tract with us. 

The constant effort of Satan is to delete and efface these 
marks, formerly by causing the disappearance of preach- 
ing, latterly by bringing the ministry into contempt. He 
refers here to Papists on the one hand and Anabaptists on 
the other. 

We are never to discard a church where pure ministry 
of word and sacraments exist, though it may teem with 
nimierous faults ; for every defect of doctrine is not 
fatal, e. g., the doctrine of intermediate state is not vital, 
like that of the Divinity of Christ. We must overlook 
some defects, otherwise we shall love no church at all, 
since there is no man not involved in some mists of igno- 
rance. Yet we must not patronize minute errors, but 
strive to remove and correct in an orderly way. 

Of errors in conduct we must be still more tolerant, not 
like Cathari and Donatists of old, or Anabaptists later. 

In the fifteen succeeding sections of this chapter Calvin 
there states, and very conclusively refutes from Scrip- 
ture, all schismatical objections to his doctrine made by 
the ancient Cathari, Donatists and Xovatians. 

Chapter Second presents a comparison of a false and 
the true church. First, it gives a description of a spuri- 
ous church, with refutation of its errors. Xext there is 
given answer to popish accusation against the orthodox, 
of heresy and scliism, with a description of churches then 
under the papacy. 

In the preceding chapter it was shown that wherever 
the word and sacraments are administered entire and un- 
impaired, no errors of conduct or no trifling defects of ad- 
ministration should make us regard it as s^^urious. 

236 MY LIFE AND Ti:srES, 

Trilling errors are such as do not corrupt fundamental 
doctrine or impair the institution of the sacrament ; but 
when falsehood forces its way into the citadel, the church 
dies as certainly as when a man's throat is cut. In Eplie- 
sians ii. 20, the church is built on the foundation of the 
apostles and prophets, but if the foundation is destroyed, 
the church must be subverted. Contrariwise, in 1 Tim- 
othy iii. 15, the church is the pillar and ground of the 
truth ; that is to say, the church upholds and holds forth 
the truth ; the church is a lighthouse ; but there is no 
church where, instead of light shining from the top, lying 
is in the ascendancy. 

iSTow, under the papacy, instead of the ministry of the 
word, there is a government which extinguishes or sup- 
presses light ; instead of the Lord's supper, the foulest 
sacrilege; instead of the worship of God, a mass of in- 
tolerable superstition. So, if we decline a fatal share in 
such wickedness, we run no risk of separating ourselves 
from the true church. 

But the papists claim that theirs is the only church in 
the world, and all who depart are schismatics or heretics. 
Their proof is a perpetual succession of bishops — men 
Avho of old founded churches, and shed their blood as 
martyrs, of whom old annals in Italy, Gaul and Spain 
tell, and that Irenanis, Tertullian, Origen and Augustine 
and others valued this succession so highly. But I ask 
them, why not quote Africa, Egypt and all Asia ? They 
answer, in them the succession was broken. So it is the 
succession on which they build. Then I ask them, why 
not acknowledge the Greeks who have the succession ? 
They answer, the Greeks, by revolt from the apostolic see, 
have lost their privilege. But do not those much more 
deserve to lose it who revolt from Christ ? 

The pretence of Rome is like that of the Jews, who, be- 
cause of their having the temple ceremonies and priest- 
hood, were contident they were the true church ; but when 
they C(»n'ni)tod his worship, God removed it elsewhere. 
iSTow, if he forsook his own temple for this, much more 
will he not abide with these who have only the semldance 
of a church. Paul, in Romans ix.-xii., says that the Jews, 
being enemies of the truth, were no longer God's people 



or church. Succession is of no vahie where conduct does 
riot correspond, and posterity is deprived of all honor 
when thev revolt from their originals. Caiaphas was no 
true successor of x\aron, nor Caligula, Xero, or Helio- 
gabalus of Brutus, Scipio, or Camillus. Of all places, it is 
most absurd in the government of the church to put suc- 
cession in persons. The fathers appealed to by the papacy 
always condenm new error by pointing out how^ it was 
opposed to the doctrine of the apostles. In fine, the 
papists have substituted for the spouse of Christ a vile 

It is by a test which is unequivocal, distinctly visible, 
infallible and indispensable, that Christ points out his 
church, viz., his word and sacraments. He says, ''Every 
one that is of the truth heareth my voice." Moreover, he 
tells us his church is founded, not on the judgment of men 
or on priesthood, but is built on the foundation of the 
apostles and prophets. Thus we are enabled to distin- 
guish infallibly Babylon from Jerusalem, and a con- 
spiracy of Satan from the church of Christ. 

They charge us with heresy and schism ; but they are 
heretics who dissent from the church, and they are schis- 
matics who destroy its unity^ for the church is held to- 
gether by sound doctrine and brotherly charity. Augus- 
tine says heresy breaks the first of these two bonds, and 
schism the second ; but the second depends on the first. 
When Paul exhorts to unity, he makes the foundation of it 
to be one Lord, one faith, one baptism ; and when he ex- 
horts to be of one mind, it is the mind of Christ, teaching 
us that where the word of the Lord is absent it is a faction 
of the ungodly. 

Cyprian places unity in the head — one root, many 
branches ; one fountain, many streams ; one sun, many 
rays. Cyprian constantly calls us back to the Head. 
Heresy comes from forsaking the Head. 

As to our being schismatics, they expelled us with 
anathemas, just as the apostles Avere put out of the syna- 
gogues, whieli then were yet lawful churches. But sup- 
pose, not being excommunicated, any have witlidraA\Ti 
from Kome: they are not schismatics, because it behooved 
to forsake her to o-et near to Christ. 


How sliall Ave compare Romo with Israel as delineated 
by the prophets 'i That -was bad ciioiigh ; this is far 
worse. That was partly apostate, but God, in mercy, still 
continued there his word and sacraments. They still had 
doctrine in the law, wutli the ministry of prophets and 
priests and circumcision. But who can give the name of 
church to this body, where the word and ministry are 
totally destroyed ? 

The defection amongst Jews M-as gradual, and not 
so rapid in Judah as in Israel ; but in both by the 
same means, viz., corrupting worship by superstitious 
additions after becoming degenerate by superstitious 
opinions. In Judah remained a true church as long as 
the doctrine of the law", the priesthood and the rites God 
had established continued there. In Judah, some kings 
wicked, some theocratic ; in Israel, matters bad before 
Ahab, worse afterwards — and all the kings idolatrous. 

Papists must admit that things are as bad with them 
as with Israel under Jeroboam, idolatry grosser, doctrine 
impurer. They make two demands on us : first, join with 
their prayers, sacrifices, etc. ; secondly, give to their 
church the honor due to Christ's church. In answer to the 
first demand, Calvin admits that the prophets did not sep- 
arate from temple worship in Jerusalem ; but they were 
not compelled there to join in anythino; God had not insti- 
tuted. In Rome we must partake of idolatry. A fair 
comparison would be the worship of the Romish church 
with that of Israel under Jeroboam. Circumcision re- 
mained, also sacrifices and the law; yet, because of in- 
vented and forbidden modes of worship (commentitios 
ac vetitos cultus), God disapproved of all done there. 
Show us one jDrophet or pious man that once worshipped 
at Bethel. 

It would be still more difticult to comply with the sec- 
ond demand, for, considering the church as one whose 
judgment we must revere, whose authority we must bow 
to, whose admonitions we must obey, whose disci])line we 
must dread and whose conmiunion we must religiously 
cultivate, if we call theirs the church, then we must yield 
subjection and obedience. Calvin willingly yields to 
them only what prophets yielded to Judah and Israel in 


their day (when their case was not so bad as Rome's), viz., 
that these meetings were profane conventicles, to assent 
to which was to abjure God. If those were churches, then 
Elijah, Micaiah, etc., in Israel, and the like in Judah, 
were aliens from God. If those were churches, then the 
church is no more the pillar and ground of truth. Meet- 
ings of papists cannot be called churches because then the 
keys of the kingdom would be with them, and what they 
bind on earth shall be bound in heaven. If they are 
churches, then no badge remains to distinguish meetings 
of the faithful from conventions of Turks. 

Still, we deny not to Rome vestiges of the church as in 
Israel. God's covenant stood by its own strength, even 
when it received no support from his people ; his faith was 
not obliterated by their perfidy; circumcision was still 
a true sign and sacrament, and their children he called 
his own. So in Gaul, Italy, Germany and other lands, 
w^e find baptism and some other remains of the church. 

So, then, we deny the name of the church to the papacy, 
but we deny not that there are churches amongst them. 
Antichrist is in the temple of God, and the Pontiff is 
leader and standard-bearer of that wicked kingdom. His 
kingdom is such as not to destroy either the name of 
Christ or of his church. Churches there are which, by 
sacrilegious impiety, he has profaned, by cruel domina- 
tion oppressed, by deadly doctrines poisoned and almost 
slain, where Christ lies half buried, the gospel suppressed, 
piety put to flight, and worship of God almost abolished. 
They are called churches because their Lord preserves 
some remains of his people, some symbols of his church ; 
yet they want the form of a legitimate assembly; they 
represent Babylon rather than the holy city of God. 

The third chapter treats of the office-bearers of the 
church, their election and office. 1, Preliminary remarks 
on the usefulness and necessity of church officers (Sec. 
1-3) ; 2, The persons fulfilling these offices (Sec. 4-10) ; 
3, Calling and ordination of office-bearers (Sec. 10-16). 

Preliminary Remarks. 
God might have instructed men directly, but he has 

chosen to do it through the ministry of some of them- 


selves. Thus he shows us his condescension, making men 
his oracles, and from their months, as from a sacred tem- 
ple, giving forth his instrnctions. lie wonld train us to 
docility. We are to hear his word from his servants as 
th(jngh from himself. He would also bind men in mutual 
charity. Some of us are to be teachers, others disciples. 
To deposit with men the doctrine of eternal life and sal- 
vation, that it might be communicated from one to the 
other, was to Ijind men together in the strongest bond of 

The vahi(> to the church of tliis ministry a])pears in 
this, that by it (/hrist fills all things to his church. By it 
the church is edified and grows. It is more useful to her 
than meat and drink and light to mortal life. They plot 
ruin who would abolish this order and government. 

The Scriptures set forth the dignity of this ministry 
thus, '"'How licautiful upon the mountains are the feet of 
him tliat bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace ;" 
"Ye are the light of the world and the salt of the earth;" 
"Who heareth you heareth me." For the enlightenment 
of Cornelius an angel is sent from heaven, but only to tell 
him to send to Joppa for Peter. Similarly, when Christ 
appears to Paul at the gate of Damascus, instead of in- 
structing him with his own voice, he tells him to go to the 
city and wait until a man named Ananias shall come and 
tell him what to do. 

The Pekso^^s Fulfilling Chukcti Offices. 

These are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and 
teachers. Of these only the two last are ordinary and 
permanent. The others were raised up at the beginning 
by the Lord, and still are raised up as becomes necessary. 
The apostles were men sent forth to preach to all the 
world, and lay everywdiere the foun<lations of the church. 
Prophets were not all the interpreters of the divine will, 
but only such of them as excelled by special revelation. 
The evangelists were inferior in rank to the apostles, but 
next to them in oifice, and acted as their substitutes, such 
as Luke, Timothy, Titus, and perhaps also the seventy. 
These three are not to be perpetual officers, but only to 
endure so Ions: as churches were to be formed among the 

calvin's institutes. 241 

Gentiles or transferred from ]\Ioses to Christ. But I 
deny not that God raised up some such afterwards, as 
has been done in our time — apostles, or at least evan- 
gelists, to bring back the church from the revolt of Anti- 
christ. The office I call extraordinary, because it has no 
place in churches duly constituted. 'Next come pastors 
and teachers, permanent officers, with whom the church 
can never dispense. Calvin savs he thinks the difference 
between them is that teachers preside not over discipline, 
nor sacraments, nor admonition, nor exhortation, but 
only see to the interpretation of the Word. He seems to 
have in mind the professor in a theological school. 

Thus classing the evangelist with the apostle and the 
teacher with the prophet, we have two like offices, corres- 
ponding in a manner to each other. The prophetic office 
was the more excellent because of inspiration, but the 
teacher's office had almost the same nature and altogether 
the same end. In like manner, the twelve excel all others 
in rank and dignity; for although, from the nature of 
the service and the etymology of the title, all ministers 
of the church (ministri ecclesiastici) may properly be 
•called apostles, because they too are men sent by the Lord, 
and are his messengers, yet, because the twelve had to 
deliver a new and extraordinary message, they and Paul 
had to be distinguished by a peculiar title. The same 
name, indeed, is given by Paul to Andronicus and Junia, 
because they were of note among the apostles ; but when he 
would speak strictly, he confines it to the original order ; 
and this is the common use of Scrij)ture. Still, pastors 
(except that each has the government of a particular 
church assigned to him) have the same function as apos- 
tles. The nature of this function let us now see more 

When our Lord sent forth the apostles, he commis- 
sioned them to preach the gospel and baptize believers. 
He had previously commanded them to administer the 
Lord's supper. All these things are enjoined upon those 
who succeed to the apostolic office. Such as neglect these 
duties falsely pretend to be successors of the apostles. As 
to the duty of pastors, Paul says they are minist.ers of 
Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God, that is, of 


the sacraments. He says the bishops must liohl fast the 
faithful word. But he also says that ])astors are to 
preach from house to house as well as publicly, and quotes 
his own example, speakinc; to the Ephesian elders. In 
short, what apostles do to the whole world is to be done by 
the pastor for a single church. But he is also to meet in 
counsel with other pastors, to settle disturbances, and 
consider tlie general interests of the church. At the same 
time, each one must have his proper duty assigned, not 
flocking together promiscuously nor capriciously leaving 
the churches vacant. And this arrangement is of divine 
authority, for Paul and Barnal)as ordained elders in every 
church, and Titus in every city. The pastor, then, is not 
(glebae addictus) astricted to the soil, and unable to move 
elsewhere, only this must be regulated, not by himself 
for his own advantage, but by public authority for the 
good of the church. 

In giving the name of bishops, presbyters, pastors and 
ministers indiscriminately to those who govern churches, 
Calvin says he has done it on the authority of Scripture,. 
which uses the words as synonymous. He shows this by 
repeated references to Scripture, as to Titus i. 5, 7 ; 
Philippians i. 1, and Acts xx. 17. 

^'Here now," says Calvin, ''it is to be observed that we 
have hitherto enumerated those offices only which consist 
in the ministry of the word ; nor does Paul make mention 
of any others in the passage which we have quoted from, 
the fourth chapter of Ephesians at the eleventh verse. 
But in Romans xii. 7, and 1 Corinthians xii. 28, Paul 
enumerates other offices, some of them evidently tem- 
porary. There are two, however, of perpetual duration. 
These relate to government and care of the poor. By 
these governors I understand seniors selected from the 
people to unite with the bishops in pronouncing censures 
and exercising discipline ; for this is the only meaning 
which can be given to the passage, 'He tliat ruleth with 
diligence' (Tiomans xii. 8). From the b(!ginning, there- 
fore, each cliurch had its senate, composed of pious, grave 
and venerable men, in whom was lodged the power of 
correcting faults. Of this ])o\vor we shall afterwards 
speak. Moreover, experience shows tliat this arrange- 


meiit was not confined to one age, and therefore we are to 
regard the office of government as necessary for all ages." 

This is all that Calvin says about the ruling elder in 
this chapter, Avherein he sets forth church government as 
revealed in the Scriptures. That the office is of divine 
right he has sufficiently declared in what he finds stated 
about governments in 1 Corinthians xii. 28. He has also 
quoted Acts xiv. 23, where we read that Paul and Barna- 
bas ordained elders in every church. It seems strange 
that he has not quoted 1 Timothy v. 17, where the apostle 
divides the bishop or presbyter or elder into two classes, 
one that rules and another that teaches as well as rules, 
the latter being the higher class, but the former being, no 
doubt, the aboriginal class. The elders at Derbe, Lystra 
and Iconium clearly were ruling elders ; they can hardly 
have been qualified to teach. Had Calvin directed his 
attention to 1 Timothy v. 17, he would probably have 
represented somewhat differently both the pastor and the 

Calvin next describes the deacons of the ISTew Testa- 
ment church as of two classes, being so set forth, he says, 
in Eomans xii. 8, "He that giveth" is the deacon who ad- 
ministers alms, and "he that sheweth mercy" is the one 
that waits on the poor and the sick. Of this latter kind 
were the widows mentioned in 1 Timothy v. 10. Such 
deacons as the apostolic church had, Calvin says, it be- 
comes us to have, which would give us the office of dea- 

Evidently Calvin understands Acts vi. 3 as describing 
the first appearance of the deacon's office in the Christian 
church ; but another view is that there were deacons in 
the Jewish church, and transferred thence into the Chris- 
tian (Acts V. 6, 10). Acts vi. 3 only records Hellenistic 
deacons to satisfy the complaints that had arisen. It is 
significant that six of the seven had Greek names, being 
ITellenistic Jews, while the seventh was a proselyte of 

The Calling axd Ordixatiox of Church Officers. 

All things must be done decently and in order; but 
nowhere, as respects the church, is this more important 


than in (loterminin<>; the nninnor and mo(k' of her govern- 
ment. Lest factions and tnrbnlent men shonld rnsh in, 
it was expressly provided that every church officer must 
assume office only after election and call (Hebrews v. 4; 
Jeremiah xvii. 16). First, he must be duly called, and 
then he must volimtarily accept the call and enter on its 
duties. Thus Pa\il frequently asserts his call and his 
fidelity to it. If so great a minister of Christ as Paul 
needed to be called, how much more all ordinary men. 

The subject of the call Calvin treats under four heads, 
viz., who are to be appointed ministers, in what way, by 
whom, and Math what ceremony. He treats here of the 
external call by the church, and says nothing- of the secret 
call of God which is so necessary. 

What persons are to be elected bishops Paul tells us in 
1 Timothy iii. 1-7 ; Titus i. 7-9. The substance is, such 
as are of sound doctrine and holy life, with no notorious 
defect as would disgrace the ministry. The description 
of elders and deacons is altogether similar. 

In what way are they to be elected ? Here Calvin 
refers, not to the rite of choosing, but, as the business is 
most serious and important, to the religious forms to be 
observed in the election. Hence the faithful observed 
prayer and fasting when they elected presbyters, implor- 
ing from God, with anxious solicitude, the spirit of wis- 
dom and discernment. 

By whom are ministers to be chosen ? The apostles, 
being extraordinary officers, were appointed by our Lord 
himself. When the apostles desired to replace Judas, 
they did not absolutely choose, but only named, two men, 
and then cast lots, thus leaving the decision to the Lord. 
Thus Paul claims that he was made an apostle, not by 
men, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, and to 
prove it he could show the insignia of his apostleship. 

"]3ut," continues Calvin, having in mind the fanatical 
Anabaptists, "no sober person will deny that the designa- 
tion of ordinary ministers is to be by man, as numerous 
scriptures teach. Even this extraordinary minister, the 
Apostle Paul, is subjected to the discipline of an ecclesi- 
astical call thus, 'Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the 
work whei'cunto I have called them' (Acts xiii. 2) : for 


the Lord first declares that he has appointed Paul apostle 
to the Gentiles, and yet afterwards requires the church to 
set him apart. The same thing we may see in the election 
of Matthias.'' 

We must now consider whether the election of a min- 
ister is by the whole church, or only by his colleagues and 
the elders who preside over discipline, or whether he can 
be constituted by the authority of one man. Those who 
say by one man (that is, a diocesan bishop *) allege 
Titus's ordination of elders in every city and Timothy's 
laying hands on men. But neither Titus reigned at Crete 
nor Timothy at Ephesus. They only presided in elections 
by the peo]ile. Roman historians often tell how the consul 
who held the comitia elected the new magistrates when he 
only received the suffrages presiding over the election by 
the peo]ile. It was in this way that Paul and Barnabas 
ordained elders in every church. They selected two, but 
the whole l^ody, as was the custom of Greeks in elections, 
declared by a show of hands which of the two they wished 
to have. It is not credible that Paul conceded to Timothy 
and Titus more than he assumed to himself. We must 
not interpret the above passages so as to infringe upon 
the common right and liberty of the church. Cyprian is 
here quoted by Calvin to sustain this view. Indeed, we 
see that, by command of the Lord, the Levitical priest 
must be brought in view of tlie people before consecration. 
'Nor was Matthias enrolled among the apostles, nor the 
seven deacons elected in any other way except at the sight 
and aiiproval of the people. Other pastors, however, 
ought to preside over the election, lest any error should be 
committed by the general body, either through levity or 
bad passion or tumult. Calvin is strong against the one- 
man-power of rule. 

It remains to be considered with what ceremony min- 
isters are to be appointed. It is simply with the laying 
on of hands. Thus the Jews devoted anything. Thus 
Jacob, when he blessed the two sons of Joseph. Thus our 
Lord, when he blessed infants. Thus the Jews laid hands 
on their sacrifices. This simple rite signified that the 

*See Chap. IV., Sees. 10, 11 ; Chap. V., Sees. 2, 3; also, Calvin 
on Acts vi. 3; and Luther, torn. II., p. 374. 


apostles devoted to the Lord him whom they admitted to 
the ministry. They observed the same ceremony in con- 
ferring the visible gifts of the Spirit. There is no fixed 
precept for us to lay on hands; we only follow the ex- 
ample of the apostles. It is certainly useful by such a 
symbol to commend to the people the dignity of the min- 
istry ; and let him who is ordained with such a ceremony 
always remember that he is not his own, but devoted to 
the special service of the Lord. This ceremony of the 
Lord's own appointment cannot be a vain thing. 

The fourth chapter treats of the primitive church and 
church government before the papacy. First, it describes 
government in the primitive church. Sec. 1-10. Xext, 
the formal ordination of bishoi:>s and ministers, Sec. 

Government in the Primitive Church. 

Calvin will be found very charitable to the course of 
things in the primitive church, whose canons, he says, 
contain almost nothing that was foreign to the sacred 
scriptures. His object being to draw a very strong con- 
trast between that church and the church of the jDapacy, he 
apologizes, as far as he can with a good conscience, for 
every early departure from the ways of the apostolic 
church. We should bear in mind that it is these early 
departures, which he called slight, which led the way to 
the more dreadful errors of the Romish church. He says 
they were sincerely desirous to do right, and they did not 
go much astray. For, he says, as we have shown that in 
scripture there are three kinds of ministers (triplices min- 
istros), so the early church distinguished all the ministry 
she had into three orders ; for from the order of the 
presbyters a part w^ere chosen to be pastors and doctors, 
and to the other part was committed the censure of morals 
and discipline. To the deacons belonged the care of the 
poor and the dispensing of alms. "Readers and Acolytes" 
did not signify distinct offices, but were only persons in 
training for the service of the church. 

All, therefore, to -whom the office of teaching was com- 
mitted they called presbyters ; and in each city these 
presbyters elected one to whom they ga\-c the title of 

Calvin's institutes. 247 

bishop. The bishop, however, was not so superior in 
honor and dignitv as to have dominion over his colleagues, 
but only to be like a president in an assembly, to bring 
matters before them, collect the opinions and preside. 
And the ancients themselves confess that this practice was 
introduced by human arrangement, according to the exi- 
gency of the times. Thus Jerome, on the Epistle to Titus, 
Chapter L, says, ^'A bishop is the same as a presbyter; 
and before dissensions were introduced into religion by 
the instigation of the devil, and it was said among the 
people, I am of Paul, and I of Cephas, churches were 
governed by a connnon council of presbyters. After- 
wards, that the seeds of dissension might be plucked up, 
the whole charge was devolved upon one. Therefore, as 
presbyters know that, by the custom of the church, they 
are subject to him who presides, so let bishops know that 
they are greater than presbyters more by custom than 
in consequence of our Lord's appointment, and that these 
must rule the church together." * 

We see evidently that what the author has especially in 
mind, as he describes the primitive church, is to show 
how it differed from the papal system, which began so 
early to be developed, even as Paul says, the mystery of 
iniquity was already working. Accordingly, we find Cal- 
vin saying at the beginning of Section II., "that all those 
to whom the office of teaching was committed they called 
presbyters." We know that they also called by that name 
all to whom was committed "the censure of manners and 
discipline," that is, all the ruling elders. For so Paul 
says in 1 Timothy v. 17, and so Calvin himself says in the 
first section of this chapter. There were others, then, 
wdiom they called presbyters, besides those to whom the 
office of teaching was committed. The reformer does not 
stop to make this plain, but what he has in mind is simply 
to show that presbyters from the beginning were not 
inferior to bishops ; for in fact "presbyter" and "bishop" 
in the scripture are interchangeable terms. 

It is possible, however, that in the form of expression 
used by Calvin in this case he means to intimate that, in 
the primitive church, through the ambition of the 

* The Latin says, "Et in commune debere ecclesiam regere." 


teachers, the name presbyter was soon confined to them, 
and the ruling elder early disappears, till in the sixteenth 
century he is exhumed by Calvin. 

Calvin proceeds to say that in another place Jerome 
shows how ancient the custom was of the presbyters ap- 
pointing one of themselves to be bishop. Jerome says 
that "at Alexandria, from the time of Mark the evangelist 
as far down as llcraclas and Dionysius" (middle of the 
third century) presbyters thus made the bishop to bo of a 
higher rank than themselves. 

The reader will observe in what Jerome says, how soon 
the episcopate is developed over the presbyterate. It has 
already come to be a higher rank. 

Calvin continues, "Each city, therefore, had a college of 
presbyters, consisting of pastors and teachers. For they 
all performed for the people that office of teaching, exhort- 
ing and correcting, which Paul enjoins on bishops (Titus 
i. 9) ; and that they might leave a seed behind them, they 
made it their business to train younger men who had 
devoted themselves to the sacred warfare. Each presby- 
tery {collcfjia politiae), as I have said, merely to preserve 
order and peace, was under one bishop, who, though he 
excelled others in dignity, was subject to the meeting of 
the brethren. But if the district which was under his 
bishopric was too large for him to be able to discharge all 
the duties of bishop, presbyters were distributed over it 
in certain places, to act as his substitutes in minor mat- 
ters. These were called chorepiscopi — rural bishops." 

Calvin proceeds to say that the bishop, as well as pres- 
byters, was in the primitive church required to administer 
the word and sacraments. Here evidently the reformer 
is striking at the Roman bishops, whose oflfice was not 
preaching, but administering the affairs of a whole dis- 
trict. It soon became necessary, as we have seen, to have 
rural bishops appointed to assist him, for he has quit the 
word and sacraments and become just an exaggerated 
ruling elder. 

Calvin continues, "Only at Alexaiulria, where Arius 
had troubled the church, was it enacte<l that no presbyter 
should address the people ; and Jerome does not conceal 
his dissatisfaction with this merclv local arrauircmcnt. 

Calvin's institutes. 249 

In all other portions of the church it certainly would have 
been deemed monstrous for a bishop not to preach. Such 
was the strictness of primitive times. ISTot even in the 
time of Gregory, when the church had almost fallen, 
would any bishop have been tolerated w^ho did not preach. 
Gregory says in his twenty-fourth epistle, the priest dies 
who does not preach. Elsewhere Gregory says, when 
Paul testifies his freedom from the blood of all men, he 
teaches that we who are called priests are murderers of 
souls if we see men perishing and do not warn them. If 
Gregory does not spare those who did their duty par- 
tially, as did the bishops of his time, what think you 
would he say to those who neglect it entirely, as Calvin 
meant to say was the case with the bishops of his time ? 
For a long time (says Calvin) it was held in the primitive 
church to be the first duty of a bishop to feed the people 
with the word of God. 

The Gregory above referred to was Gregory the Great, 
in the latter part of the sixth century, the man who sent 
missionaries to Britain to convert the Anglo-Saxons. 

Calvin continues, ''As to the fact that each province 
had an archbishop among the bishops, and that by the 
Council of ISTice patriarchs were made superior to arch- 
bishops, it must be allowed that the design was for the 
preservation of discipline." It must also be allowed, in 
treating of the subject here, that this practice was rare. 
The chief reason for the institution of these orders w^as 
that, when a matter could not be settled except by being 
referred to a provincial synod, if the magnitude of the 
question required it, patriarchs might be employed along 
with the synods to determine it, and from them there 
could be no appeal except to a general council. Some 
called this hierarchy — in my opinion a name not proper, 
certainly not found in scripture; for the Holy Spirit 
never designed that any one should dream of domination 
in the church ; but, looking not at the term, but only at 
the thing, we must see that the ancient bishops had no 
wish to frame a church government different from what 
the word of God prescribes. 

Let the reader observe the characteristic sobriety and 
charitableness of the reformer. 


As to deacons, their office was as it had been under the 
apostles. For they received the annual revenues of the 
church and applied them to their true uses ; that is, partly 
to maintain ministers and partly to help the poor, under 
the direction of the bishop, to whom they made annual 
reports. The canons made this the duty of the bishop, but 
he performed this duty by the deacons who were under 
his direction. But the Council of Antioch ordained that 
the bishop who meddled with the effects of the church 
without the knowledge of the presbyters and deacons 
should be restrained. From many of the letters of Greg- 
ory it is evident that, even at that time, while otherwise 
ecclesiastical administrations were very irregularly dis- 
charged (ecdesiasticae ordinationes multum vitiatae 
erant), it was still the practice for the deacons to l>e, 
under the bishops, the stewards of the poor. Probably at 
first subdeacons assisted the deacons in the management 
of the poor. Archdeacons were afterwards appointed as 
the extent of the revenues increased ; and Jerome says 
they already existed in his day. Then these took cliarge 
of the revenues, possessions and furniture, and daily of- 
ferings. We find Gregory saying to the Archdeacon Soli- 
tanus that the blame would be his if any of the goods of 
the church perished. Then the reading of the word to the 
people, and the giving of exhortation, was allowed them, 
and afterwards the giving of the cup in the sacred supper. 
This was done to make them respect their office, as being 
not a secular stewardship, but a spiritual function, dedi- 
cated to God. 

Hence we may judge what kind of distribution was 
made of ecclesiastical goods. You will learn, both from 
the decrees of synods and from other ancient writers, that 
all the possessions of the church were held to be the patri- 
mony of the poor. Accordingly, it is ever and anon 
sounded in the ears of bishops and of deacons : Remember 
that you are not handling your own, but what belongs to 
the poor ; if you dishonestly conceal or dilapidate it, you 
will be guilty of blood . ITence they are to distribute with 
the greatest care, as in the sight of God, and without re- 
spect of persons. Hence, also, by Chrysostom, Ambrose, 
Augustine, and other like bishops, those graver obtesta- 

Calvin's institutes. 251 

tions in which they assert their integrity before the peo- 
ple. But since it is just in itself, and also sanctioned by 
the Lord, that they that preach the gospel should live of the 
gospel, and since some presbyters in that age had become 
poor by consecrating all they had to God, aliment was 
afforded to the ministry, and yet the poor not neglected. 
Yet it was provided that the ministers were to live fru- 
gally and not in luxury. "For," says Jerome, ''those 
clerics who have a sufficient patrimony commit sacrilege 
if they accept what belongs to the poor." 

But when at length, through cupidity and the depraved 
desires of some, bad examples had arisen, they had to 
frame canons correcting these evils, dividing the revenues 
of the church into four parts. They assigned one part to 
the clergy, a second to the poor, a third to the repair of 
churches and other edifices, and a fourth to the poor 
strangers ; for although other canons attribute this last 
part to the bishop, it is not meant to be for his own use, but 
to enable him to use the hospitality which Paul enjoins. 
So is this canon interpreted by Gelasius and by Gregory. 
Gregory especially so explains it. 

Moreover, what was spent in the adorning of sacred 
things {in ornatum sacrorum) was at first very trifling; 
and even when the church had become somewhat more 
wealthy, all the money that was collected in such things 
(illic) was reserved for the poor when some great neces- 
sity should arise. Evidently Calvin here refers to silver 
and gold vessels, etc. He thus continues, "Cyril, when a 
famine prevailed in the province of Jerusalem, and the 
want could not otherwise be supplied, took the vessels and 
robes and sold them for the support of the poor Acacius, 
Bishop of Amida, when famine was destroying the Per- 
sians, assembled the clergy and delivered this noble ad- 
dress, 'Our God has no need of chalices or salvers, for he 
neitlier eats nor drinks.' Then he melts down the plate, 
and gave food and ransom, to the sufferers. Jerome also 
tells how Exuperius, Bishop of Tholouse, though he car- 
ried the body of the Lord in a wicker basket and his 
blood in a glass, suffered no poor man to be hungry. What 
I said of Acacius, Ambrose tells of himself. When the 
Arians assailed Ambrose for breakins; down the sacred 


vessels for the ransom of captives, he demonstrated to 
them at great length how the sacraments stand in no need 
of gold, and their true honor is in the ransom of captives. 
In a word, we see the exact truth of what he elsewhere 
says, viz., that whatever the church then possessed was the 
revenue of the needy, and that a bishop has nothing but 
Avhat belongs to the poor. 

We have thus reviewed all the ecclesiastical offices of 
the primitive church. The others spoken of by ecclesias- 
tical writers were just preparations for office. Those 
good men thought it wise to have in training young per- 
sons who should succeed them, having dedicated them- 
selves, with the consent and authority of their parents, to 
this life. Their general name was that of clerks, I could 
wish that some more appropriate name had been given 
them, for this appellation had its origin in error, or at 
least improper feeling. Here the reformer seems to pass 
condemnation by inference upon the names clergy and 
clergymen, terms wdiich certainly never should be used 
by thoughtful protestants. ''The whole church," says 
Calvin, ''is called by Peter (1 Peter v. 3) the Lord's clerus, 
that is, his inheritance and portion, which name should 
not be given to any class of church officers. But the in- 
stitution itself was most sacred, and valuable as a means 
of training up young ministers. First of all, they en- 
trusted them with the opening and shutting of the church 
doors, and so were called Ostiarii. Kext came the Aco- 
lytes, who were followers of the bishop, always attending 
him wherever he w^ent, that there might arise no suspicion, 
since a witness was always present. Then there were 
'readers,' Avho were to stand up and read the word to the 
people among whom they were to know and be known, and 
learn not to be ashamed when afterwards they were ad- 
mitted to be subdeacons." 

Ordination of Bishops and Ministers. 

As to the first two points, viz., the persons to be elected, 
and the manner of their election, the early church fol- 
lowed the apostles, meeting solemnly for the election, 
with earnest prayer to God, with examination into the 
life and doctrine of the candidates, only sometimes they 


were more strict than Paul (1 Timothy iii. 2-8), and 
especially, in process of time, they exacted celibacy. As 
to the third point, viz., who should appoint the minister? 
they departed from the apostolic rule, for anciently none 
were admitted without the consent of the whole people. 
Hence Cyprian apologizes for having appointed a reader 
without consultino- the whole church, on the ground that 
he was to have a long probation, and only to an unimpor- 
tant office. Afterwards, in other orders also, except the 
episcopate, the people left the choice to the bishop and the 
presbyters, unless where new presbyters were appointed 
to parishes, in which case the express consent of the in- 
habitants of the place behooved to be given. ]^or is it 
strange that the people should be indifferent to their own 
rights as to sub-deacons, for only after a long probation 
could he become deacon, and then, after another long pro- 
bation, presbji;er ; for none were promoted who had not 
for many years been constantly under the eye of the peo- 
ple. There were also many canons for punishing their 
faults, so that the church need not be burdened with bad 
presbyters or deacons. Indeed, in the case of presbyters, 
the consent of the citizens was always required, as is at- 
tested by the canon ascribed to Anacletus. Moreover, 
all ordinations were at stated periods of the year, so that 
none might creep in stealthily. 

As to bishops, the people long retained their right to 
prevent any one being intruded on them. So the Council 
of Antioch ordained. Leo I. also carefully confirmed 
this. Hence various passages like this, ''Let him be 
elected whom the clergy and the people, at least the ma- 
jority, demand." Very careful were the holy fathers that 
this liberty of the people should be preserved, as appears 
in the case of Nectar ius, whom a general council at Con- 
stantinople would not ordain without the approbation 
of the whole clergy and people, as is testified by their 
letter to the Roman Synod. So, when a bishop would 
name his own successor, he must get the consent of the 
whole people. Augustine not only gives an example of 
this, but the very form, in the nomination of Eradius. 
Theodoret, after relating that Peter, who was appointed 
by Athanasius his successor, had the acclamation of the 


whole people, also adds that the sacerdotal order rati- 
fied it. 

Indeed, it was decreed bv the Council of Laodicea, and 
I admit on the best grounds, that ordination should not 
be left to the crowd ; for it seldom happens that many 
heads can settle a matter well. It generally holds true, 
"Incertum scindi stiidia in contraria vulgus" — opposing 
wishes rend the fickle crowd. Accordingly, first, the 
clergy alone selected, then presented the man to the mag- 
istrate, or senate, or chief men. These, after deliberation, 
put their signature to the election if approved ; otherwise 
they chose another. The matter was then laid before the 
multitude, who, though not bound l)y all this, were less 
able to act tumultuously. Or, if the matter began with 
the multitude, the wishes of the people having been thus 
heard, the clergy at length elected. Leo said, "The wishes 
of the citizens, the testimonies of the people, the choice 
of the honorable, the election of the clergy, are to be 
waited for." Thus, all that the Council of Laodicea de- 
signed was that the clergy and rulers were not to allow 
themselves to be carried away by the rash multitude, but 
rather, by their prudence and gravity, to repress, if need- 
ful, their foolish desires. 

This mode of election was still in force in the time of 
Gregory (A. D. 590). Whenever a new bishop was to be 
elected, he would consult the clergy, the magistrates and 
the people, and also the governor. When one Constantius 
was made bishop of Milan, but, because of the insurgence 
of the barbarians of the north, many Milanese had fled to 
Genoa, Gregory held that the election was not lawful 
until these refugees were called together and gave their 
consent. "Indeed," says Calvin, *'not five hundred years 
ago. Pope Xicholas fixed the election of a pontiff thus: 
first, the cardinals must precede ; then the clergy, and 
then the people of Rome." And then he recites the de- 
cree of Leo, lately quoted by me. But if the election was 
to be out of the city, his order was that some of the people 
must go and ratify. The suffrage of the emperor, as far 
as I can understand, was required only at Rome and Con- 
stantinople, being seats of empire. In Gratian's De- 
cretals we read that canonical elections are not to be 

Calvin's institutes. 255 

vacated at the word of a king. Still, it is one thing to de- 
prive the church of her right of deciding an election, and 
quite another thing to assign due honor to a king or em- 
peror. We see how far Calvin's conservatism carries 

"It remains now," he says, ''to speak of the ceremony 
of ordination or consecration in the ancient church. The 
Latins called it by those names, but the Greeks give it 
two names, the one signifying the lifting up of hands in 
voting, the other the laying on of hands upon the head. 
A decree of the Council of l>lice (in the fourth century) 
requires the metropolitans and all the bishops of the prov- 
ince to be present ; but if some were necessarily hin- 
dered, at least three must attend, and the absent must 
signify assent by letter. But strict examination into doc- 
trine and life must precede ordination. It appears from 
Cyprian's words that of old the ordination took place at 
the same time as the election, so that the presence of 
bishops might prevent any disorder by the crowd in the 
matter of their election." 

Yet a diiferent custom gradually gained ground ; for 
the elected began to go to the metropolitan, to get ordina- 
tion by him. Gradually a still worse custom prevailed, 
owing to the increased authority of the Romish See, 
which was for all the bishops of Italy to go to Rome for 
ordination. Thus only a few cities maintained their an- 
cient rights, for example, Milan. 

The only form used was the laying on of hands. I do 
not read of any other ceremony, except that the bishop 
wore some dress to distinguish him from the other pres- 
bvters. Presbyters and deacons also received laying on of 
hands, but each bishop, with his college of presbyters, or- 
dained his o^^^l presbyters. The same act was performed 
by all, but because the bishop presided, it came at last to 
be called his ordination. Here, then, is still to be seen, in 
this description by Calvin, the remains of the original 
ordination of ruling elders by the pastor and the other 
elders, and how gradually prelacy came to take the place 
of scriptural presbytery. 

The eighth chapter introduces the third part of Cal- 
vin's subject, viz.. Church Power, as existing either in 


individual l)ishops, or in councils, whether provincial or 
general. Nothing is said here about particular councils, 
such as church sessions or presbyteries, but he will speak 
of them in the next chapter, and show that thej have the 
very same kind of authority as the higher courts of the 
church, or even as to what he means by the general coun- 
cil. He says, "I speak of spiritual power, such as belongs 
properly to the church, and which consists either in doc- 
trine, or in jurisdiction, or in enacting laws. As to the 
subject of doctrine there are two divisions, viz., the 
authority of delivering dogmas and of interpreting 

Calvin thus, at the very outset of this chapter on power, 
makes the distinction between several power and joint 
power; for church power in one form belongs to indi- 
vidual ministers and elders, but another form of it is con- 
fined to assemblies of church rulers. He pauses here to 
remind the reader that church power, whatever we may 
say about it, must always be exercised for edification and 
not for destruction. To use it lawfully we must remem- 
ber that we are only servants of Christ, and also servants 
of his people. ISTow, the only way to edify the church is 
to magnify Christ, and always hold him up as its only 
Lord ; for not of any other, but only of Christ, was it 
said, "Hear him." Ecclesiastical power is not, then, to 
be malignantly * adorned (maligtie ornanda), but is to 
be confined within certain limits, as described by prophets 
and apostles, so as not to be drawn hither and thither at 
the caprice of men ; for, conceding to men all the power 
they would like to assume, it is easy to see it must soon de- 
generate into tyranny. 

Thus Calvin here enunciates several principles which 
are very dear to all Presbyterians. The first is, that 
church power is all spiritual. Secular things, j)olitical 
matters, and scientific questions, arc all beyond its sphere. 
Another is, it is never for destruction, but always only for 
edification. It acts always in love and for good to the 
oifender. It inflicts no pains or penalties except such as 
are spiritual. A third one is, it is never magisterial, but 

* I so translate this word on the authority of Facciolati. 



only spiritual, and by the authority and for the honor of 

When Calvin divides the power of doctrine into de- 
livery of dogmas and the interpretation of them, he sets 
forth by the first what individual bishops may do, as well 
as councils ; and when he speaks of interpreting dogmas, 
I think he has in view especially the duty of applying the 
principles of truth to various questions that come before 
•courts of the church. 

In like manner, Gillespie distinguishes between the 
power of order and of jurisdiction. The first is what an 
individual ofiicer may do by himself, the second, what he 
■can only do when joined with similar officers. The power 
of doctrine is administered severally when ruling bishops 
teach privately and from house to house. The teaching 
bishop administers it both privately and publicly. Thus 
both classes of elders have this several power of doctrine. 
Gillespie calls this their power of order. But power of 
jurisdiction, and also of legislation, belong only to the 
courts of the church, and these are their joint power. We 
recognize no one-man power of making law or of applying 
power in jurisdiction. (See Chapter XL, Section vi.) 

Coming now to the authority of individual bishops, or 
presbyters, to deliver dogmas, Calvin says this authority 
is not given to themselves, but to their office. As usual, he 
is in this chapter continually contrasting scriptural in- 
stitutions and officers with those of the Romish church. 

He says, "The authority and dignity of church officers, 
whether priests, or prophets, or apostles, or successors of 
apostles, is not given to themselves, but to their office ; or, 
to speak more plainly, it is given to the word, for they 
<;an only teach or give interpretations in the name of the 
Lord. Before he brings them forward to speak to the 
people he always instructs them what to speak, lest they 
should speak anything but his own word. This is shown 
in the case of Moses and the Levitical priests. Accord- 
ingly, when the people embraced Moses' doctrine, they 
are said to have believed the Lord and his servant Moses. 
The priests, too, who under the severest sanctions were 
not to be despised, are said to be only messengers of the 
Lord. It is said he made his covenant with Levi, that 


the law of truth might be in his mouth ; also that the 
priests' lips should keep knowledge. Therefore, if the 
priest would be heard, let him faithfully deliver the com- 
mands which he has received from his Maker." (Exodus 
iii. 4; Deut. xvii. 9; Exodus xiv. []1; Malachi ii. 4, 6; 
Deut. xvii. 11.) 

The same thing is true as to the prophets. Ezekiel is 
elegantly described as a watchman who is to hear at the 
mouth of the Lord and give warning (Ezekiel iii. IT). 
In Jeremiah we read, ''The jirophet that hath a dream, 
let him tell a dream ; and he that hath my word, let him 
speak my word faithfully" (Jeremiah xxiii. 28). Surely 
this is the law to all. I^one is to speak except what he 
has heard from the Lord ; everji:hing else is called 
"chaff," while the word of the Lord is wheat. The 
prophets continually speak of "the word of the Lord," 
"the burden of the Lord." Isaiah (vi. 5) says his lips 
are unclean, and Jeremiah (i. 0) calls himself a child, as 
long as they are speaking their own language, but as soon 
as they became the organs of the Spirit their lips were 
holy and their words pure. After strict charges given not 
to speak except at his mouth, there are conferred upon 
them great powers and illustrious titles. They are set 
over nations to pull down and to build up (Jeremiah i. 
9, 10). _ 

To the apostles are given distinguished titles, "Light," 
"Salt," "Binders and Loosers" ; but they tell ns their 
sole power is to speak his commands faithfully. But, 
besides Moses and the priests, and the prophets and the 
apostles, he that is above all gives us an example, by con- 
descending to take on him the same rule. "My doctrine 
is not mine, but his that sent me." The power of the 
church, therefore, is limited to the word of the Lord. 

But although the word is our only rule, and Christ our 
only Teacher, yet the methods of teaching and learning, 
from the beginning down to our times, have been various. 
Onr Saviour says, '"'No man knoweth the Father but he ta 
whom the Son will reveal him;" all, therefore, from the 
beginning, who attain to the knowledge of God were 
taught by the Son himself. From this fountain Adam, 
!Noah, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob drew all the heavenly 


doctrine wliicli they possessed. From the same drew all 
the prophets all their heavenly oracles. But the mode 
was different ; for to the patriarchs he gave secret revela- 
tions, accompanied, however, with such signs or miracles 
as convinced them it was God who spoke. These revela- 
tions they handed down to posterity, who, by the inward 
teaching'of God's Spirit, knew that the doctrine was of 
heaven and not of earth. 

Afterwards God gives to his church a more illustrious 
form, by bestowing on her his written word; then this 
becomes what the priests must teach the people (Malachi 
ii. 7). This was the law, and nothing to be added to it or 
taken from it. 'Next come the prophets, speaking new 
oracles from God, flowing nevertheless out of the law, and 
having constant respect to it. As respects doctrine, 
prophets were just interpreters of the law, adding nothing 
to it, although they spoke predictions of future events. 
With this exception, all they said was in exposition of the 
law. Then afterwards, the Lord had prophecy committed 
to writing. There were also historical details written by 
prophets, but dictated by the Holy Spirit. I include the 
Psalms among the prophecies, being also by inspiration. 
Thus the Law, the Prophets, the Psalms and Histories 
made up the word of the Lord, binding on the Old Testa- 
ment church ; nor could they turn either to the right 
hand or to the left from this, the word of the Lord. This 
is gathered from the celebrated passage in Malachi iv. -i, 
where they are enjoined to remember the law until should 
come the preaching of the gospel ; thus restraining them 
from all adventitious doctrines or departing in the least 
degree from the path pointed out by Moses ; for the rea- 
son why David so magnificently extols the law in Psalms 
xix. and cxix. was in order that the Jews meanwhile 
might not long for any extraneous aid, all perfection being 
included in the law. 

Last of all appears the incarnate wisdom of God, un- 
folding to us all that the human mind can comprehend or 
ought to think of the Father. The Sun of Kighteousness 
having risen, we have now the noon-dav of truth. God, 
at sundry times and in divers manners, having spoken to 
us by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken to us 


by his Son. This, then, is God's last and eternal testi- 
mony. The whole period, from the appearance of Christ 
down to the judgment day, is called the last hour, the 
last times, the last days ; therefore, we are to frame no 
new doctrine for ourselves, nor receive any devised by 
others. The Son is appointed our sole Teacher in the 
solemn words spoken from heaven ; hear him. Indeed, 
what can be desired or expected by man when the Word 
of Life has appeared and explained himself ? Every 
mouth should be stopped when once he has spoken, for in 
him are "hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." 
(Colossians ii. 3.) 

Therefore, let this be a sure axiom: Xothing else is to 
be held (habendum esse Dei verhinn ) as a wnrd of God, to 
which place is to be given in the church, unless, tirst, it 
be contained in the law and the prophets, and then in the 
apostolic writings, and the only right method of teaching 
in the church is according to the prescription and rule of 
his word. (The reader can see here the doctrine formally 
set forth by Calvin, that nothing is projier in the worship 
of God unless it has a divine right to be there.) Here, 
says Calvin, we also infer that nothing else was permitted 
to the apostles than to the prophets, viz., to expound the 
ancient scriptures, and show that what they contained 
was fulfilled in Christ ; and to do even this they required 
to have the spirit of Christ. For his command to them 
was, "Go, teach whatsoever I have commanded." Else- 
where he twice repeats, "Be not ye called Rabbi ; for one 
is your Master, even Christ." And then he promises to 
give them the Spirit of Truth to guide them into all 

Accordingly, Peter, from the mouth of his Master, 
commands, "If any man speak, let him speak as the 
oracles of God" ; that is, speak nothing but the command- 
ments of God, and always boldly, as with authority from 
God. Thus we are to banish from the church of the faith- 
ful all inventions of the human mind, no matter from 
what head proceeding, so that only the pure word of God 
shall remain ; and to discard all the decrees or fictions of 
men (whatever be their rank), that only the decrees of 
God may remain. These are the weapons of our warfare, 


wliich are not carnal, but mighty through God. Such is 
the supreme power with which pastors — called by whatso- 
ever name — are invested, namely, to dare all boldly for 
the word of God ; compelling all ranks, from the highest 
to the lowest, to yield and obey its majesty; trusting to 
its power alone to build up the house of God, and over- 
throw the house of Satan ; feeding the sheep and chasing 
away the wolves; instructing and exhorting the docile; 
accusing, rebuking, and subduing the rebellious and petu- 
lant; binding and loosing; in fine, if need be, to thunder 
and to lighten {fulgurent denique, si opus est, ac fulmi- 
nent) ; but all in the word of God. Ihere is this differ- 
ence, however, between the apostles and their successors : 
they were the sure and authentic amanuenses of the 
Spirit, hence their writings are the oracles of God, w^hile 
their successors are only to teach what is delivered in the 
holy Scriptures. It does not now belong, therefore, to 
faithful ministers to coin any new doctrine, but only to 
adhere to those doctrines to which all without exception 
are made subject. This applies not only to individuals, 
but to the whole church. Paul was apostle to the Corin- 
thians, yet declares he had no dominion over their faith. 
If Paul dared not, who will now dare arrogate to himself 
any such dominion ? But it will be said, that with regard 
to the whole church the case is different. I answer that 
Paul meets the objection when he says that faith comes 
by hearing, that is, by hearing God's written word, and 
that only and alone. Hence there is no place left for any 
word of man. True faith in God's word will have 
strength enough to stand intrepid and invincible against 
Satan, the machinations of hell and the whole world. 
This strength is to be found only in the word of God. 
Here, then, is a rule of universal application — God de- 
prives man of the power of producing any new doctrine, 
in order that he alone may be our Master in spiritual 
teaching, as he alone is true, and can neither lie nor de- 
ceive. This rule applies not less to the whole church than 
to every individual believer. 

The ninth chapter treats of councils and their author- 
ity; that is to say, of the assemblies of ecclesiastical 
rulers, whether provincial or general. The former an- 


swer to the General Assemblies of the Presbyterian 
Church and of other Protestant bodies ; but the General 
Council of the papists falsely claims universal authority 
over the whole church. In this chapter, therefore, Calvin 
first discusses the authority of councils or assemblies in 
delivering dogmas (Sec. 1-7). The errors of certain 
general councils discussed in Sections 8-12 will be passed 
over and Sections 13 and 11 taken up, wherein is dis- 
cussed the power of councils or assemblies over the inter- 
pretation of scripture. 

Calvin at the outset explains the zeal of Rome in mag- 
nifying church power, as due entirely to their wish to 
exalt the Pontiff and his conclave, on w'hom they bestow 
all they can extort. He professes the hearty veneration 
which he feels for the ancient councils, and would have all 
hold them in due honor ; but a limit must be set to this 
lest Christ be dishonored. It is his right to preside over 
all assemblies, and he will not share the honor with any 
man. IvTow, he presides only when he governs the whole 
assembly by his word and Spirit. Again, in attributing 
to councils less than is claimed for them by Rome, it is 
not that he is afraid of them, they being against us and 
for Rome, because he is amply provided from the scrip- 
tures with the means not only of sustaining his o"uti 
doctrine, but also of overthrowing the whole papacy; 
though, if the case required it, ancient councils furnish 
us with what might even be sufficient for both purposes, 

Now the scriptural authority of assemblies is found in 
these words, ^'Where two or three are gathered together 
in my name, there am I in the midst of them."" But this 
promise is just as applicable to any particular meeting as 
to universal councils. The important part is the condi- 
tion — "in my name." To say that any council Avas at- 
tended by thousands of bishops will little avail, nor can 
we believe that such a numerous council is guided by the 
Sj)irit, unless assembled in the name of Christ, since it 
is as possible for the wicked and dishonest to conspire 
against Christ as for good and honest lushops to meet in 
his name. We have clear proof of this in many of their 
councils. I only deny that they assemble in the name of 
Christ who, disreo-ardine; his command to add nothing to 

Calvin's institutes. 263 

and take nothing from his word, determine everything at 
their o^vn pleasure, and who, not content with the oracles 
of scripture, devise some novelty out of their own head. 
(Deut. iv. 2; Eev. xxii. 18.) God's covenant with the 
Levitical priest was to teach at his mouth ; such, also, was 
the law for prophets and apostles. Let Rome solve this 
difficulty if she would subject my faith to the decrees of 

Rome maintains that the truth is always with the pas- 
tors, and the church cannot exist unless displayed in gen- 
eral councils. My answer is from the prophets : In the 
time of Isaiah, God had not yet abandoned the church; 
but how did he speak of the pastors ? '"His watchmen 
are blind ; they are all ignorant, they are all dimib dogs, 
they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slum- 
ber. Yea, they are greedy dogs which never have enough, 
and they are shepherds that cannot understand ; they all 
look to their own way" (Isaiah Ivi. 10, 11). See similar 
denunciations in Hosea ix. 8 ; Jeremiah vi. 13 ; xiv. 14 ; 
Ezekiel xxii. 25, 26. Read the whole of Jeremiah's 
tliirty-third and fortieth chapters. There is more of the 
same kind throughout the prophets ; nothing is of more 
frequent recurrence. 

But while this great evil prevailed in the Jewish 
cliurch, was the Christian church to be exempt from it ? 
Would that it were so ; but the Holy Spirit declared that 
it would be otherwise. Peter's words are clear — -"There 
shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring 
in damnable heresies." See how he here predicts impend- 
ing danger, not from ordinary believers, but from the 
pastors and teachers. How often do Christ and his apos- 
tles predict that the greatest danger to the church would 
come from pastors ! Paul openly declares that Antichrist 
would have his seat in the church. Moreover, he says this 
great evil was almost at hand. He tells the elders of 
Ephesus that among themselves should men arise speak- 
ing perverse things. If these could degenerate in so short 
a time, what great corruption might not a great series of 
years introduce among pastors ! It has been thus in 
almost every age — the safety of the church does not de- 
pend on the pastor. It was becoming that those appointed 


to preserve the peace and safety of the church shoiihl be 
its presidents and guardians ; bnt it is one thing to per- 
form what you owe, and another to owe what you do not 

Let me not be misunderstood as desiring to overthrow 
the authority of pastors. All that I advise is that we 
exercise discrimination, not supposing that all who call 
themselves pastors are such indeed. But the Pope, with 
his whole herd of bishops, for no other reason than that 
they have the name of pastors, obedience to God's word 
being shaken off, invert all things at their pleasure; 
meanwhile claiming that they cannot be destitute of the 
light of truth, that the Spirit of God perpetually resides 
in them, that the church subsists in them and dies with 
them, as if the Lord did not punish wickedness now as 
of old, by smiting pastors with astonishment and blind- 
ness (Zech. xii. 4). JSTor do these most stolid (stolidis- 
simi)m.en understand that they are just chiming in with 
those who warred with the word of God, as said the ene- 
mies of Jeremiah, "Come and let us devise devices against 
Jeremiah, for the law shall not perish from the priest, nor 
counsel from the wise, nor the word from the prophet 
(Jeremiah xviii. 18). 

Hence it is easy to reply to their allegations concerning 
general councils. The Jews undoubtedly had a true 
church under the prophets. But we hear the Lord de- 
nouncing the priests of that day — not one or two of them, 
but the whole order. (See Jeremiah iv. 9, and see Ezekiel 
vii. 2G ; Micah iii. 6.) But had a general council then 
been composed of the priests, had all men of this descrip- 
tion been collected together, what spirit would have pre- 
sided over their meeting? Ahab's notable council is a 
fair example of this kind (1 Kings xxii. 6, 22). There 
were four hundred prophets present, but a lying spirit in 
all their mouths. They unanimously condemn the truth. 
]\Iicaiah is judged a heretic, smitten and cast into prison. 
So was it done to Jeremiah, and so to the other prophets. 

But the most memorable example of a council without 
God is that which met and condemned Christ. Nothing 
is wanting, so far as external appearance is concerned. 
Had there been no church there, Christ had never joined 

Calvin's institutes. 265 

in their worship. A solemn meeting is held. The high 
priest presided, the whole sacerdotal order is present, yet 
Christ is condemned and his truth is put to flight. In 
Thessalonians ii. 3, Paul foretells a defection ; but that 
was a defection which could not come until the pastors 
should first forsake God. We cannot, therefore, admit 
that the church consists in a meeting of pastors, the Lord 
having nowhere promised that they should always be 
good, but having sometimes foretold that they should be 

Having proved that there is no power in assemblies to 
set up any new doctrine, what power belongs to them in 
the interpretation of scripture ? Calvin readily admits 
that when any doctrine is controverted, there is no better 
plan than for a council of true bishops to meet and discuss 
the question, and then agree in common upon the exact 
form in which the point should be stated. Paul prescribes 
this method when he gives the power of deciding to any 
single church ; much more is this proper to the churches 
met in common council. If any one trouble the church 
with some novelty in doetrine, and a dissension rises and 
spreads, the churches should first meet, and after due ex- 
amination and discussion, decide according to the scrip- 
ture. This was done in the case of Arius by the Council 
of N^ice, and in the case of Eunomius and Macedonius by 
the Council of Constantinople ; in the case of ISTestorius 
by the Council of Ephesus. In short, this was the usual 
method, from the first, for the preserving of imity. But 
let us remember that all ages and places are not favored 
with an Athanasius, a Basil, a Cyril, and like vindicators 
of sound doctrine whom the Lord then raised up. ISTay, 
let us consider what happened in the second Council of 
Ephesus when the Eutychian heresy prevailed. Flavi- 
anus, of holy memory, with some pious men, was driven 
into exile, and many similar crimes were committed, be- 
cause, instead of the Spirit of the Lord, Dioscorus, a fac- 
tious man, of a very bad disposition, presided. But the 
church was not there. I confess it; for I always hold 
that the truth does not perish in the church, even though 
trodden down by one council ; for the truth will be won- 
derfully preserved by the Lord to rise again in his own 


time, and prove victorious. But this I perpetually deny, 
that every interpretation of scripture is true and certain 
which has received the votes of a council. 

When, however, the Eomanists maintain that councils 
have the power of interpreting scripture, they have an- 
other object in view, namely, that they may make of it a 
pretext for alleging that everything determined by the 
council is an interpretation of scripture. Of purgatory, 
intercession of saints, and auricular confession, there is 
not one word in scripture. But these are all to be held as 
interpretations of scripture. Not only so, but whatever 
a council has determined against scripture is to have the 
name of an interpretation of scripture. Christ bids all 
drink of the cup, but the Council of Constance (1414) 
prohibited giving it to the people, and ordained that 
priests alone should drink. Paul terms the prohibition of 
marriage a doctrine of devils, and says that marriage is 
honorable in all ; but Rome, having interdicted marriage 
to her priests, insists that this is a true and genuine inter- 
pretation of scripture. Their claim for councils of the 
power of approving or disapproving scripture is a blas- 
phemy which deserves not to be mentioned. I will just 
ask one question: If the authority of any scripture is 
founded on the approbation of the church, will they quote 
the decree of a council to that effect ? At the Council of 
Xice, Arius was vanquished by passages from the Gospel 
of John. But according to Rome, he was at liberty to re- 
pudiate them because no council had then approved them. 
They allege an old catalogue, which they call a canon. 
Again I ask: What council published that canon ( They 
aie dumb. Also, what do they believe that canon to be? 
The ancients themselves are little agreed about this. If 
effect is to be given to what Jerome says, the Maccabees, 
Tobit, Ecclesiasticus and the like, must take their place in 
the Apocrypha; but this they will not tolerate on any 

The tenth chapter treats of the power of making laws ; 
the cruelty of the Pope and his adherents, in this respect, 
in tyrannically opp'-essing and destroying souls. In this 
chapter Calvin discusses, I. Human constitutions in gen- 
eral ; the distinction between civil and ecclesiastical laws ; 


Oonscience, why and in what sense ministers cannot im- 
pose laws on the conscience (Sec. 1-8). II. Traditions 
or popish constitutions relating to ceremonies and dis- 
cipline, and the many vices in them, also arguments in 
favor of those traditions refuted (Sec. 9-2(5) will be 
passed over, and ecclesiastical constitutions that are good 
and lawful (Sec. 27-32) will be taken up. 

We come to the second part of power claimed by Rome 
for her councils, namely, that of making laws, from which 
source innumerable traditions have arisen to become 
deadly snares to miserable souls. These are just like the 
burdens imposed by scribes and Pharisees, which, how- 
ever, they touched not with one of their fingers (Matt. 
xxiii. 4; Luke xi. 16). I have shovsm (Book III,, Chap. 
iv.. Sec. 4-7) how cruelly murderous is their law of au- 
ricular confession ; their other laws may not seem so vio- 
lent, but the most tolerable ones press tyrannically on the 
conscience. The question now is, can the church make 
laws to bind our conscience ? This question concerns the 
great affairs of God's authority as the only lawgiver, and 
our spiritual liberty, civil order not being here consid- 
ered. Whatever laws men, without the authority of 
•God's word, have made respecting our relations to him, 
we call human traditions. It is these I contend against, 
and not against those sacred and useful regulations which 
the church must make respecting discipline, decency and 
peace. I only insist that necessity must not be imposed 
upon consciences set free by Christ, and which without 
this freedom cannot have peace. Christ must be ac- 
knowledged as our Deliverer, our only King. We are to 
be ruled by the only law of liberty, the sacred word of 
the gospel, otherwise we cannot retain the grace we have 
already received in Christ. We must be subject to no 
bondage — be bound by no chains. 

Rome represents the burdens she has imposed on the 
conscience as few and light. In fact, they cannot be 
counted, are exacted w^ith the greatest rigor, very many 
of them difficult, and the whole taken together impossible 
to be observed. How, then, can those on whom this moun- 
tain of laws is imposed avoid being perplexed with 
anxiety and filled with terror ? I therefore impugn these 


church laws enacted to bind the conscience inwardly be- 
fore God, and imposed as rules necessary to salvation. 

]Many are puzzled about this nuitter because they do 
not distinguish between the external forum and the foriun 
of conscience ; that is, between courts of men and of God. 
This perplexity is increased by the words of Paul when 
he enjoins obedience to magistrates "not only for wrath, 
but also for conscience' sake," which seem to teach that 
civil laws (that is, human laws) can bind the conscience. 
This difficulty is to be solved by etymology. When men 
have knowledge, that is science; but when, in addition 
to this, they have a sense of the divine judgment, as a wit- 
ness not permitting them to hide their sins, but bringing 
them up as criminals, this is called conscience. This is 
what Paul means when he says that conscience bears wit- 
ness, and thoughts accuse or else excuse. Hence the old 
proverb, "Conscience is a thousand witnesses." Peter 
also speaks of the answer of a good conscience before 

Sometimes, indeed, conscience does extend to men, as 
when Paul declares, "Herein do I exercise myself to have 
always a conscience void of offence toward God and to- 
ward men." But this is said because the benefits of a 
good conscience flow forth and reach even to men. Prop- 
erly speaking, however, conscience respects God alone, as 
I have already said. Another rule also holds in the case 
of things which are in themselves indifferent. We ought 
to abstain so as not to give offence, but conscience is free. 
After being warned against idol-meat, for example, it 
would be -v^Tong for the believer to eat it ; but the neces- 
sity is in respect to a brother's weakness, and not to the 
Lord. The law binds the external act, but the conscience 
is free. 

Let us return to human laws. They are unlawful 
when imposed as of religious obligation and to bind the 
conscience ; for conscience has to do not with man, but 
with God only. 

But we have not yet explained the difficulty which 
arises from the words of Paul. For if we must obey mag- 
istrates, not only from fear of punishment, but for con- 
science' sake, it seems to follow that their laws have do- 


minion over the conscience. And then the same thing 
wonkl follow as to church laws. I answer that we must 
distinguish between the genus and the species; for 
although individual laws may not bind the conscience, yet 
we are bound by the general law of God to honor magis- 
trates. Here is the hinge on which turns Paul's discus- 
sion, viz., magistrates are to be honored because ordained 
of God ; but he by no means teaches that their laws ex- 
tend to the internal government of the soul, since he 
everywhere proclaims that God's worship and the spirit- 
ual law of right living are superior to all decrees of men. 
Another thing worthy of notice and depending on what 
has been said before, is that human laws, whether by 
magistrate or church — I speak of such as are good ones — 
are necessary to be observed, but do not bind the con- 
science, because the whole necessity of observing them de- 
pends on the general end, and consists not in the thing it- 
self which is commanded. Very different, however, is the 
case of those which prescribe a new form of worshipping 
God, and introduce necessity into things that are free. 

Calvin's doctrine of the church's having no proper 
legislative power is the source w^hence came that state- 
ment of the Westminster Confession of Faith, ''The 
whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for 
his o-wn glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either 
expressly set down in scripture, or by good and necessary 
consequence may be deduced from scripture ; unto which 
nothing is at any time to be added, whether by new reve- 
lations of the Spirit, or by traditions of men. But there 
are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, 
and the government of the church common to human 
actions and societies which are to be ordered by the light 
of nature and Christian prudence." God is the only 
lawgiver ; no laws but his revealed ones bind the con- 
science. Those laws cover every point of human worship, 
human belief and human practice. The church can only 
make circumstantial rules of order and decency. As to 
what Paul says concerning the law of the magistrate to be 
obeyed for conscience' sake, Calvin holds that to be God's 
general direction of paying respect to lawful authority, 
but no human law, Avhether of church or state, can bind 

270 :\rY i.ii-^e axd ti.mes. 

our consciences. Our liberty of conscience is beyond their 
sphere. Whatever laws the magistrate puts forth that are 
good and just, we shall, of course, obey in obedience to 
God's command. The whole necessity or obligation to 
obey them respects the general end, that is, of regard to 
God's command, and respects not any inherent authority 
in the magistrate's command itself. He may command 
what is right; he may command what is wrong. Your 
obligation to obey springs not from the magistrate's com- 
manding it, but from the general command of God ; and 
if the command is against your conscience, there is no obli- 
gation to obey it. Any commands from the magistrate 
which introduce new forms of divine worship, or which 
introduce necessity into things that are free, we are not 
bound to obey. 

Calvin continues : "Everything relating to a perfect 
rule of life God has comprehended in his word, so that 
he has left nothing for men to add to the summary there 
given. The reasons for this are, first, that since all recti- 
tude of human conduct must be what accords with the 
Creator's will, we must regard him alone as the master 
and guide of our life ; and, secondly, that he might show 
that there is nothing which he more requires of us than 
obedience, (James iv. 11, 12; Isaiah xxxiii, 22; 1 Peter 
V. 2). Thus is cut off all the power claimed by those who 
would take it upon them to order anything in the church 
without authority from the word of God." 

In vicAV, then, of the two reasons why God claims for 
himself to be our sole lawgiver, and for which ho forbids 
men to take that honor to themselves, it will be easy to 
decide that all human constitutions or invented improve- 
ments by men in the worship or service of God, are con- 
trary to the word of his law, especially when their observ- 
ance is bound upon the conscience as of necessary obliga- 
tion. The first of the two reasons in question is urged 
by Paul in the Epistle to the Colossians against the false 
apostles, who attempted to lay new burdens on the 
churches. In this epistle he maintains that the true wor- 
ship of God is not to be sought from men, the Lord having 
fully taught that to us himself. All this is fully set forth 
in the first and second chapters. In the end of the second 

Calvin's institutes. 271 

chapter lie more decisively condemns all factitious mode- 
of worship, and all precepts concernino; the worship of 
God which men devise at their own pleasure or receive 
from others. Similarly, passages in which Paul forbids 
the binding of fetters on the conscience are found in the 
fifth chapter of Galatians, where reference is also made to 
like work by false apostles. 

Of Ecclesiastical Rules that are Lawful. 

The apostle enjoins that all things be done decently and 
in order, which requires the observance of rules to be 
ordained by the church. But these rules of mere decency 
and order must not be confounded with such as bind the 
conscience. The decency which Paul commends is a regu- 
lated use of rites that produce reverence and gravity in 
sacred matters ; while the order he enjoins requires that 
they who preside shall know the law and rule of right 
government, and that those who are governed should 
cheerfully yield obedience to right discipline. 

The remainder of this chapter consists of four sections, 
in which Calvin presents the reader with a full delinea- 
tion of his idea of decency and order. They constitute a 
most charming exhibition of the reformer's wisdom and 
piety, of the clearness of his intellect, of his strict ad- 
herence to principle, and at the same time, of the moder- 
ation of his views and the breadth of his charity. 

We shall not, therefore, give the name of decency to 
that which only ministers an empty pleasure ; such, for 
example, as is seen in that theatrical display which the 
j)apists exhibit in their public service, where nothing ap- 
pears but a mask of uselss splendor, and luxury without 
any fruit. But we give the name of decency to that 
which, suited to the reverence of sacred mysteries, forms 
a fit exercise for piety, or at least gives an ornament 
adapted to the action, and is not without fruit, but re- 
minds believers of the great modesty, seriousness and 
reverence with which sacred things ought to be treated. 
Moreover, ceremonies, in order to be exercises of piety, 
must lead us directly to Christ. In like manner, we shall 
not make order consist in that nugatory pomp which gives 
nothing but evanescent splendor, but in that arrangement 



which removes all confusion, barbarism, contumacy, all 
turbulence and dissension. Of the former class, we have 
examples (1 Corinthians xi. 5, 21), where Paul says that 
profane entertainments must not be intermingled with 
the sacred supper of the Lord ; that women must not ap- 
pear in public uncovered. And there are many other 
things which we have in daily practice, such as praying on 
our knees, and with our head uncovered, administering 
the sacraments of the Lord, not sordidly, but with some 
degree of dignity; employing some degree of solemnity 
in the burial of our dead, and so forth. In the other class 
are the hours set apart for public prayer, sermon and 
solemn services ; during sermon, quiet and silence, fixed 
places, singing of hymns, days set apart for the celebra- 
tion of the Lord's supper, the prohibition of Paul against 
women teaching in the church, and such like. To the 
same list, especially, may be referred those things which 
preserve discipline, as catechising, ecclesiastical censures, 
excommunication, fastings, etc. Thus all ecclesiastical 
constitutions, which we admit to be sacred and salutary, 
may be reduced to two heads, the one relating to rites and 
ceremonies, the other to discipline and peace. 

But as there is here a danger, on the one hand, lest false 
bishops should thence derive a pretext for their impious 
and tyrannical laws, and, on the other, lest some, too apt 
to take alarm, should, from fear of the above evils, leave 
no place for laws, however holy, it may here be proper to 
declare, that I approve of those human constitutions only 
which are founded on the authority of God and derived 
from scripture, and are, therefore, altogether divine. Let 
us take, for example, the bending of the knee, which is 
made in public prayer. It is asked, whether this is a hu- 
man tradition, which any one is at liberty to repudiate 
or neglect ? I say, that it is human, and that at the same 
time it is divine. It is of God, inasmuch as it is a part 
of that decency, the care and observance of which is 
recommended by the apostle ; and it is of men, inasmuch 
as it specially determines what was indicated in general, 
rather than exi)ounde(l. From this one example, we may 
judge what is to be thought of the whole class, viz., that 
the whole sum of righteousness, and all the parts of divine 

Calvin's institutes. 273 

worship, and everything necessary to salvation, the Lord 
has faithfully comprehended, and clearly unfolded in his 
sacred oracles, so that in them he alone is the only Master 
to be heard. But as, in external discipline and cere- 
monies, he has not been pleased to prescribe every par- 
ticular that we ought to observe (he foresaw that this de- 
pended on the nature of the times, and that one form 
would not suit all ages), in them we must have recourse 
to the general rules which he has given, employing them 
to test whatever the necessity of the church may require 
to be enjoined for order and decency. Lastly, as he has 
not delivered any express command, because things of 
this nature are not necessary to salvation, and, for the 
edification of the church, should be accommodated to the 
varying circumstances of each age and nation, it will be 
proper, as the interest of the church may require, to 
■change and abrogate the old, as well as to introduce new 
forms. I confess, indeed, that we are not to innovate 
rashly, or incessantly, or for trivial causes. Charity is 
the best judge of what tends to hurt or to edify; if we 
allow her to be guide, all things will be safe. 

Things which have been appointed according to this 
rule, it is the duty of the Christian people to observe with 
a free conscience indeed, and without superstition, but 
also with a pious and ready inclination to obey. They 
are not to hold them in contempt, nor pass them by with 
careless indifference, far less openly to violate them in 
pride and contumacy. You will ask, what liberty of con- 
science will there be in such cautious observances ? Nay, 
this liberty will admirably appear when we shall hold 
that these are not fixed and perpetual obligations to 
which we are astricted, but external rudiments for human 
infirmity, which, though we do not all need, we, however, 
all use, because we are bound to cherish mutual charity 
towards each other. This we may recognize in the ex- 
amples given above. What ? Is religion placed in a wo- 
man's bonnet, so that it is unlawful for her to go out with 
her head uncovered ? Is her silence fixed by a decree 
which cannot be violated without the greatest wickedness ? 
Is there any mystery in bending the knee, or in burying 
.a dead body, which cannot be omitted without a crime ? 


By no means. For, slioiild a woman require to make siicb 
haste in assisting a neighbor that she has not time to 
cover her head, she sins not in running out with her head 
uncovered. And there are some occasions on which it is 
not less seasonable for her to speak tlian on others to be 
silent. Xothing, moreover, forbids him who, from dis- 
ease, cannot bend his knees, to pray standing. In fine, 
it is better to bury a dead man quickly than from want of 
grave-clothes, or the absence of those who should attend 
the funeral, to wait till it rot away unburied. Neverthe- 
less, in those matters, the customs and institutions of 
the country, in short, humanity and the rules of modesty 
itself, declare what is to be done or avoided. Here, if any 
error is committed through imprudence or forgetfulness^ 
no crime is perpetrated; but if this is done from con- 
tempt, such contumacy must be disapproved. In like 
manner, it is of no consequence what the days and hours 
are, what the nature of the edifices, and what psalms are 
sung on each day; but it is proper that there should be 
certain days and stated hours, and a place fit for receiving 
all, if any regard is had to the preservation of peace. For 
what a seed-bed of quarrels will confusion in such matters 
be, if every one is allowed at pleasure to alter what per- 
tains to common order ? All will not be satisfied with 
the same course, if matters, placed, as it were, on debat- 
able ground, are left to the determination of individuals. 
But if any one here becomes clamorous, and would be 
wiser than he ought, let him consider how he will approve 
his moroseness to the Lord. Paul's answer ought to sat- 
isfy us, ''If any man seem to be cont-entious, we have no 
such custom, neither the churches of God." 

Moreover, we must use the utmost diligence to prevent 
any error from creeping in which may either taint or 
sully this pure use. In this ^ve shall succeed, if whatever 
observances we use are manifestly useful, and very few in 
number ; especially if to this is added the teaching of a 
faithful pastor, which may prevent access to erroneous 
opinions. The eifect of this procedure is, that in all these 
matters each retains his freedom, and yet, at the same 
time, voluntarily subjects it to a kind of necessity, in so 
far as the decency, of which we have spoken, or charity,. 


demands. !N"ext, that, in the observance of these things, 
we may not fall into any superstition, nor rigidly require 
too much from others, let us not imagine that the worship 
of God is improved by a multitude of ceremonies ; let not 
church despise church because of a diiference in external 
discipline. Lastly, instead of here laying down any per- 
petual law for ourselves, let us refer the whole end and 
use of observances to the edification of the church, at 
whose request let us without oifence allow not only some- 
thing to be changed, but even observances which were 
formerly in use to be inverted; for the present age is a 
proof that the nature of times allows that certain rites, 
not otherwise impious or unbecoming, may be abrogated 
according to circumstances. Such was the ignorance and 
blindness of former times ; with such erroneous ideas 
and pertinacious zeal did churches formerly cling to cere- 
monies, that they can scarcely be purified from monstrous 
superstitions without the removal of many ceremonies 
which were formerly established, not without cause, and 
which in themselves are not chargeable with any impiety. 

The eleventh chapter treats of ecclesiastical jurisdic- 
tion, its necessity, origin, and essential parts, viz., the 
sacred ministry of the word, and discipline of excommu- 
nication, of which the aim, use and abuse are explained 
(Sec, 1—8). The remaining sections of this chapter 
(9-16) are passed over, containing a refutation of pa- 
pists' arguments in defence of the tyranny of pontifl:"s, 
their claim to both swords, imperial pomp and dignity, 
foreign jurisdiction, and immunity for their priesthood 
from civil jurisdiction. 

We come now to the third part of ecclesiastical power, 
which consists in jurisdiction, upon which, in both its 
parts, the discipline of the church, in great measure, de- 
pends. Accordingly, jurisdiction is the principal part of 
church power, for it is of absolute necessity to the church, 
just as no city or village can exist without magistrates 
and government. But this spiritual government of the 
church is altogether distinct from the civil government, 
being the order provided by the Lord for the polity only 
of his church ; for to this end there were established, 
from the first, tribunals to take cognizance of morals, 


animadvert on vices, and exercise the office of the keys. 
Pan! speaks of these in 1 (\)rinthians xii. 28, under the 
name of "governments" ; also in Romans xii. 8, where he 
says, "He that ruleth, with diligence" ; likewise in 1 
Timothy v. 17, he mentions two kinds of presbyters — 
some who labor in the word and doctrine, and others who 
only rule well ; for in these places he is speaking of the 
power of the keys which Christ bestowed on the church 
in Matthew xviii. 15-17, where he orders that those who 
despise private admonition should be reported to the 
church, and if they hear not the church, must be ex- 
pelled from its communion. But these admonitions and 
corrections cannot be made without investigation ; hence 
some judicial procedure and order is necessary to the 
church. AVe speak not here of the general power of doc- 
trine, as in ]\[atthew xvi. 19, John xx. 23, but of the 
rights of the Sanhedrin transferred to the Christian 
church, in as far as that was a pure institution and pro- 
tective of the church by heavy sanctions ; for clearly in 
the two passages above named reference is to be had to the 
apostolic commission, to preach the word, to which com- 
mission is added this assurance about the binding and 
loosing for the encouragement both of the preacher and of 
his hearers. This attestation passes down to all ages and 
remains firm, rendering all certain and secure, that the 
M'ord of the gospel, by whomsoever preached, is the very 
word of God, promulgated at the supreme tribunal, writ- 
ten in the book of life, ratified firm and fixed in heaven. 
Therefore, in those two texts the power of the keys is sim- 
ply the preaching of the gospel, and, as to the men who 
preach, it is not power, but simply ministry. 

iSTow, in Matthew xviii. 17, 18, we read again of bind- 
ing and loosing. This passage is not altogether similar to 
those above, and must be understood somewhat diifer- 
ently. They are similar in that both are general state- 
ments ; that both speak of the same power of binding and 
loosing; there is the same command and the same prom- 
ise. They differ in that the former two passages relate 
to preaching, but the third to church discipline. On these 
passages Rome builds confession, excommunication, juris- 
diction, legislation and indulgences. She has fitted doors 

Calvin's institutes. 277 

and locks to the keys as skillfully as if all her life she 
had been a mechanic. 

Some may imagine that all these divine arrangements 
for church discipline were only temporary, and that the 
civil power, having now become Christian, is perfectly 
competent to correct all abuses and purify society. Ac- 
cordingly, Calvin proceeds to point out the dissimilarity 
between ecclesiastical and civil power. The church has 
no sword and no prison, no power to coerce. ]^or is pun- 
ishment ever the church's object, but only repentance. 
The magistrate imprisons ; the pastor debars from the 
Lord's table. But as the magistrate ought to purge the 
church of offences by corporal punishment and coercion, 
so the minister ought, in his turn, to assist the magistrate 
in diminishing the number of offenders. Thus they ought 
to combine their efforts, the one being not an impediment, 
but a help to the other. 

The reformer here seems to sigTiify that the church 
may very well give thanks to the civil magistrate if he 
helps her to keep her members in order. The discipline 
provided by the Master, faithfully and wisely adminis- 
tered, certainly should stand in no need of help from the 
state; but when we consider how imperfectly discipline 
is administered in our time, we have no reason to wonder 
at Calvin's language. 

He proceeds to say it is quite clear that the order of the 
church and her spiritual tribunals is designed by the Lord 
to be perpetuated through all ages, because it would be 
incongruous that those who refuse to obey our admoni- 
tions should be turned over to the magistrate, which 
would be necessary and suitable, of course, if he were to 
be the successor of the church rulers. The promise to 
such rulers about binding and loosing cannot be limited 
to a few years. Our Lord's enactment is no new one. It 
was always observed in the church of his ancient people. 
The church cannot dispense with a spiritual discipline 
which w^as necessary from the beginning. When em- 
perors and magistrates began to assume the Christian 
name, spiritual jurisdiction was not forthwith abolished. 
It was easily arranged that the two should not interfere. 
A Christian emperor could not wish to exempt himself 


from the common spiritual subjeetion. The Emperor 
Theodosiiis submitted to discipline by Ambrose. A good 
emperor is within the church, not above it, as said 

The slanderous accusation against Calvin, that he de- 
livered over Servetus to the secular arm to be burnt, is 
shown to be false by the principle which he has here 

The object to be held in view by the spiritual jurisdic- 
tion of the church is, first (says Calvin), to prevent the 
occurrence of scandals, but when they arise, to remove 
them. Here two things are needful — first, that this 
spiritual power be altogether distinct from the power of 
the sword, and, secondly, that it be not administered by 
one man, but by a lawful consistory. Both these were 
observed in the purer times of the church. The severest 
punishment of the church, and, as it were, her last thun- 
derbolt, is excommunication, and that never to be used 
except in case of necessity. Moreover, this requires 
neither violence nor j)hysical force, but gets its power 
solely from the word of God. In short, the jurisdiction 
Ol the ancient church was nothing but a practical declara- 
tion of what Paul says, '"The weapons of our warfare are 
not carnal, but spiritual." As this warfare was carried 
on by the preaching of the gospel, so there was required to 
be connected with the office of the ministry the right of 
summoning those who are to be privately admonished or 
sl'.arply rebuked; the right, moreover, of keeping back 
from the Lord's supper those who could not be admitted 
without profaning this high ordinance. Hence, Paul inti- 
mates, in 1 Corinthians v. 12, the necessity of tribunals 
from the authority of which no believer is exempted. 

The power of these tribunals was not in any one man, 
but in the consistory of elders, which was, in the church, 
what a council is in the city. Cyprian (A. D. 250), 
speaking of these tribunals as they were in his time, asso- 
ciates the whole clergy with the bishop ; in anotlicr place 
he shows that, while the clergy presided, the people were 
not excluded from cognizance. Cyprian savs, "From the 
beginning of my bislioprie, I determined to do nothing 
without the advice of the clergy, nothing without the con- 


sent of the people." But the common and usual method 
Avas bj the council of presbyters, of whom, as I have said, 
there were two classes. Some were for teaching, others 
were only censors of manners. This institution gradually 
degenerated from its primitive form, so that in the time of 
Ambrose (A. D. 397) the clergy alone had cognizance of 
ecclesiastical causes. Of this Ambrose complains in the 
following terms: ''The ancient synagogue, and afterwards 
the church, had elders without whose advice nothing was 
done ; this has grown obsolete, by whose fault I know not, 
unless it be by the sloth, or rather the pride, of teachers 
who would have it seem that they only are somewhat." 
We see how indignant this holy man was because the bet- 
ter state was in some degree impaired, and yet the order 
which then existed was at least tolerable. What, then, 
had he seen those shapeless ruins which exhibit no trace 
of the ancient edifice ! How would he have lamented ! 
Chiefly (principio) contrary to what was right and law- 
ful, the bishop appropriated to himself what was given 
to the whole church, just as if the consul had expelled the 
senate, and assumed to himself the whole empire; for, 
as the bishop is superior in rank to the others, so the au- 
thority of the consistory is greater than that of one in- 
dividual. It was, therefore, a gross iniquity when one 
man, transferring the common power to himself, paved 
the way for tyrannical license, suppressed and discarded 
the consistory ordained by the spirit of Christ. 

But, as one evil always leads to another evil, the 
bishops, now disdaining spiritual jurisdiction as a thing 
unworthy of their care, appoint officials to manage it in 
their place. I say nothing as to the character of these 
officials. All I say is, that they have gradually trans- 
formed the spiritual jurisdiction of the church consistory 
into a mere litigious forum for the settlement of civil 
matters ; yet they will tell you, we have admonitions, 
and Ave have excommunication. But this is the way God 
is mocked. Calvin describes the end of all their pro- 
ceedings, in their so-called spiritual jurisdiction, as the 
collection of money, and he shows how money is the 
means of escape from all their so-called spiritual disci- 
pline. He adds that not only they take charge, in this 


fashion, of Htiij;ation about pecuniary affairs, but, also, 
that in this very same fashion do they censure vices, such 
as whoredom, lasciviousness, drunkenness, and like in- 
iquities, Mdiich they not only tolerate, but, by a kind of 
tacit approbation, through the reception of money, en- 
courage, both among the people and themselves. Out of 
many they summon a few, that they might not seem to 
connive too much {nimis socordes in connivendo), or that 
they may mulct them in money. I say nothing of the 
plunder, rapine, peculation and sacrilege which are there 
ccmmitted. I repeat, that I say nothing of the kind of 
persons Avho are, for the most part, appointed by the 
bishops to act in their place. It is enough, and more than 
enough, that when the Romanists boast of their spiritual 
jurisdiction, we are ready to show that nothing is more 
contrary to the procedure instituted by Christ; that it 
has no more resemblance to ancient practice than dark- 
ness has to light. 

The twelfth chapter treats of the discipline of the 
church, and its principal use in censures and excommuni- 

This chapter consists of two parts : I. The first part of 
ecclesiastical discipline, which respects the people, and 
is called common, consists of two parts : the former de- 
pending on the power of the keys, which is considered, 
(Sec. 1-14) ; the latter consisting in the appointment of 
times for fasting and prayer (Sec. 14-21). II. The sec- 
ond part of ecclesiastical discipline, relating to the clergy 
(Sec. 22-28), shall be passed over, as not relating to Cal- 
vin's doctrine of church government, being peculiar to 
the Romish church. 

Calvin speaks, first, of the common discipline, to which 
both clergy * and people are subject. If no society, even 
no moderate family, can do without right discipline, much 
more necessary is it to the church. As the saving doc- 
trine of Christ is the life of the church, so his discipline is 
itf; sinews, without which its members cannot be kept 
together. Therefore, all who wish to destroy or impede 

* In liis French A'ersion of the Institutes, Calvin says, "I use this 
word, although it is improper." 


it;, seek tlie devastation of the church ; for this must 
happen, if to preaching be not added private admonition, 
correction, and similar methods of maintaining doctrine. 
Discipline is a curb to restrain and tame those who war 
against doctrine ; or, it is a stimulus to arouse the indif- 
ferent ; or, it is a fatherly rod, by which those who make a 
grievous lapse are chastised in mercj. The beginnings of 
devastation, which we see already (in our Reformed 
Church), call for a remedy. ]*^ow the only remedy is 
this which Christ enjoins and the pious have always had 
in use. 

The first step in discipline is admonition. If any one 
is worthy of blame, he must allow himself to be admon- 
ished, and every one must study to admonish his brother 
when the case requires. Especially is admonition the 
duty of pastors and elders, as Paul shows when he taught 
13ublicly, and also from house to house, and then only felt 
that he was pure from the blood of all men. Thus only 
does doctrine obtain force and authority. If any one de- 
spises admonition, he is to be admonished again, and 
that before witnesses. If he still does not yield, the Sav- 
iour's injunction is that he must be summoned to the bar 
of the church, which is the consistory of elders, and there 
admonished more sharply. If not then subdued, he is to 
be debarred from the society of believers. 

But our Saviour is not there speaking of secret faults 
merely. We must, then, distinguish between private and 
public sins. It is of the former, that is, private offences,, 
that Christ says you must go and speak with thy brother 
alone. Of open sins, that is, public ones, Paul says to 
Timothy, ''Eebuke them before all." So Paul rebuked 
Peter when he dissembled, not privately, but in the face 
of the church. The legitimate course, therefore, will be 
to proceed in correcting secret faults by the steps men- 
tioned by Christ, and, in open sins, accompanied with 
public scandal, to proceed at once to solemn correction by 
the church. 

Another distinction Calvin makes is between mere de- 
linquencies and flagrant iniquities. For the latter a 
sharper remedy than admonition is necessary, as Paul 
shows in the case of the incestuous Corinthian, who is 


not only verbally rebuked, but excommunicated by him 
as soon as he was informed of his sin. 

Let the reader observe that Calvin describes Paul as ex- 
communicating this man because his apostleship gave him 
plenary power, but no such one-man power belongs to the 
settled church-state, although a foreign missionary, far re- 
moved from any presbyterial authority, can of right do 
the same. 

Calvin continues : "The spiritual jurisdiction, which 
the Lord has given to the church, is the best support to 
sound doctrine, the best foundation of order, and the best 
bond of unity. Therefore, when tlie church banishes 
from her communion those guilty of flagrant iniquity, as 
well as the contumacious, who, when duly admonished for 
lighter faults, hold God and his tribunal in contempt, she, 
so far from arrogating anything to herself, is just exer- 
cising a jurisdiction which she has received from the 
Lord. Moreover, the Lord has declared that the just sen- 
tence of the church is his own sentence, and that whatever 
she does on earth is ratified in heaven ; for it is by the 
word of the Lord she condemns, and by the word of the 
Lord she receives back into favor. Those, I say, who 
trust that churches can long stand without this bond of 
discipline are mistaken." 

There are three ends of this severe discipline. The 
first is tliat God may not be insulted by the flagitious lives 
of professing Christians. If he who has the dispensation 
of the Lord's supper admits to it any unworthy person 
whom he ought and is able to repel, he is as guilty of sac- 
rilege as if he had cast the Lord's body to the dogs. 
Chrysostom bitterly inveighs against those priests who, 
from fear of the great, dare not keep any one back. 
^'Blood," says he, "will be required at your hands. . . . 
Let us not tremble at fasces, purple or diadems ; our 
power here is greater. Assuredly, I will sooner give up 
my body to death, and allow my blood to be shed, tlian be 
a partaker of that pollution." Therefore, lest this sacred 
mystery be profaned, selection is required in its adminis- 
tration, and this cannot be except by the jurisdiction of 
the church. A second end of discipline, is that the good 
may not, as usually happens, be corrupted by constant 


communication with the wicked. To this Paul refers in 
commanding the Corinthians not to associate wdth the 
incestuous man. A third end of discipline is that the 
sinner may be ashamed. Accordingly, the apostle says 
that he had delivered the Corinthian to Satan. He o-ives 
him over to Satan, because the devil is without the church, 
as Christ is in the church. Some interpret this of a cer- 
tain infliction on the flesh, but this interpretation seems 
to me most improbable. 

These being the three ends of discipline, it remains to 
see in what way the church is to execute this discipline, 
which is made a part of jurisdiction {quae in jurisdic- 
ttone posita est). (Calvin's meaning is that discipline 
depends on jurisdiction, for the word jurisdiction in- 
volves judgment and trial, and these always must precede 
execution.) He continues: And, first, we must remem- 
ber the distinction already made, that some sins are 
public, others are private or still more secret (alia jjrivata 
vel occuMiora). The public ones are those which are done 
not merely before one or two witnesses, but openly, and 
to the oft'ence of the whole church. Secret, I call not 
those which are altogether concealed from men, such as 
those of hypocrites (these are the occidtiom), but those of 
an intermediate description, Avhicli are not without wit- 
nesses, and which yet are not public. The former, that is, 
the public class, require not the steps which Christ enu- 
merates, but the church is to summon the offender, and 
discipline him according to his fault. The second class, 
that is, the private or secret class, come not before the 
church unless there is stubbornness, according to the rule 
of Christ, about not hearing two or three. 

Calvin divides sins into public and private, or secret ; 
but it is evident that he does not use these two last terms 
as synonymous, for besides the secret (occulta), he has a 
class of occultiora, which are the sins of the hypocrite en- 
tirely concealed from men, though known to God. He 
proceeds : "Also, in taking cognizance of offences, it is 
necessary to attend to the distinction between delin- 
quencies and flagrant iniquities. In lighter offences, 
severity is less required than kind and fatherly gentleness 
■of rebuke, so as not to exasperate the offender, but draw 


him back to repentance. In flagrant iniqnities, a sharper 
remedy must be used. The offender must, for a time, be 
denied the communion of the supper, until he gives proof 
of repentance. Paul discards the Corinthian from the 
church, and reprimands the Corinthians for having borne 
with him so long." 

Such was the method of the ancient church: the fla- 
grant offender was debarred the communion for a time, 
then he must humble himself before God, and testify re- 
pentance before the church. He must then observe cer- 
tain solemn rites as indications of repentance. Having 
thus given satisfaction to the church, he was received 
back by the laying on of hands by the bishop and clergy. 
Cyprian describes all this, but he adds that the consent of 
the people was at the same time required. 

Even princes submitted to this discipline in common 
with their subjects ; and justly, for all diadems and 
sceptres should be subject to Christ. The Emperor Theo- 
dosius, Avhen excommunicated by Ambrose for slaughter 
at Thessalonica, laid aside all his royal insigniia, and pub- 
licly, in the church, bewailed the sin into which others 
had led him, imploring pardon with groans and tears. 
Great kings must think it no disgrace to prostrate them- 
selves before the King of kings, and to be censured by his 
church. I only add that the legitimate course in excom- 
munication is not for the elders to act by themselves, but 
always with the knowledge and approbation of the church. 

Calvin goes on to insist with Paul (2 Corinthians ii. 
T), that in the exercise of discipline, the use of modera- 
tion will better subserve the ends of discipline than undue 
severity. He tells us the ancient church erred when they 
suspended from the communion for three, four or seven 
years, or even for life. When one had lapsed a second 
time, he was not admitted to a second repentance, but 
ejected for life. Sound judgment will always condemn 
this want of prudence. Here I rather disapprove the 
public custom than blame those who complied with it. 
Cyprian fully declares it was not with his own will he 
was thus over-rigorous. Chrysostom, who is somewhat 
more severe, still expresses himself similarly. As for 
Augustine, we know how indulgently he treated the Do- 

Calvin's institutes. 285 

natists, receiving back any from schism who declared their 
repentance. It was because a contrary method prevailed 
that they were obliged to give up their own judgment. 

Accordingly, as the church must act mildly in her dis- 
cipline, and not with undue severity, which Paul depre- 
cates, so private Christians should act charitably towards 
the lapsed. In one word, let us commit them to the divine 
judgment, rather than our own, because when it seems 
good to him, the worst are changed into the best. For the 
promise of our Saviour, about binding and loosing, is not 
to individual persons, but only to the church and her 
representatives; moreover, it does not consign the ex- 
communicated to everlasting damnation, but conditions 
that upon their never repenting. Excommunication does 
not, like anathema, doom, and devote to eternal destruc- 
tion, but only forewarns to bring to repentance. If it 
succeeds, reconciliation and restoration to communion are 
ready to be given. Moreover, anathema is rarely, if ever, 
to be used. 

The reader should observe that, in general, Calvin 
means by excommunication only suspension from church 
communion, whether for a longer or a shorter time, but 
here he brings it into comparison with anathema. At 
the present time Protestants will broadly distinguish ex- 
communication, on the one hand, from suspension, as well 
as^ on the other hand, from anathema. In a word, Protes- 
tants never anathematize. 

The reformer next points out to private persons, as well 
as ministers, the duty of being patient with the imper- 
fections of church discipline, because the task is so diffi- 
cult. He quotes from Augustine, that neither is strict- 
ness of discipline to be neglected, nor the bonds of society 
to be burst by intemperate correction. On the one hand, 
that prudence is to be used which our Lord requires, "lest 
while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat 
with them." On the other hand, he who neglects to ad- 
monish, accuse and correct the bad, although he neither 
favors them nor sins with them, is guilty before the Lord ; 
then he concludes from Cyprian: Let a man mercifully 
correct what he can ; what he cannot correct, let him bear 
patiently, and in love bewail and lament. 

286 :\rY live asd tj^ikh. 

Calvin says Angnstine was luovod to take these posi- 
tions bv the moroseness of the Donatists in his time, who, 
because they saw faults in the church not disciplined with 
due severity, bitterly inveighed against the l)ishops as 
traitors, and then, by an impious schism, separated them- 
selves from the flock of Christ. Similar is the conduct of 
the Anabaptists in the present day, acknowledging no as- 
sembly as a church of Christ unless, clothed with angelic 
perfection, they overthrow, under pretense of zeal, every- 
thing that tends to edification. Augustine tells us that 
the Uonatists, out of zeal for their owm disputes, at- 
tempted to draw members of the church entirely away. 
Swollen with pride, raving with petulance, insidious in 
calumny, turbulent in sedition, they covered themselves 
with a stern severity, that it might not be seen how void 
they w^ere of truth. The correction of a brother's fault, 
which scripture says must be done with moderation, they 
pervert to sacrilegious schism and purposes of excision. 
Thus Satan transforms himself into an angel of light. 

One thing Augustine specially commends, viz., that if 
the contagion of sin has seized the multitude, strict dis- 
cipline must not be attempted wdth them. That would 
only disturb the weak good, without correcting the 
wicked proud. Such was his own practice. In writing to 
Aurelius, Bishop of Carthage, about the prevalence of 
drunkenness in Africa, a vice so severely condemned in 
scripture, he advises a council of bishops to devise some 
remedial plans to be pursued, adding immediately that, 
in his opinion, no harsh or imperious measures would suit 
the case. Severity can only be exercised against the sins 
of the few. With a multitude of offenders, more is to be 
effected by teaching than commanding, by admonishing 
than threatening. 

Fasting and Prayer, and Other Religious Observances, 

The appointment of such days by pastors is not strictly 
included in the pow'er of the keys, but has prevailed in 
the church, not only from the time of the apostles, but 
even from the times of the law and the prophets. The 
apostles follow^ed a course not new to the people of God^ 


and which they foresaw woukl be useful to the church. 
Whene^'er, therefore, a religious controversy arises which 
either a council or an ecclesiastical tribunal behooves to 
decide; whenever a minister is to be chosen; in short, 
whenever any matter of difficulty or great importance is 
under consideration ; on the other hand, when manifesta- 
tions of the divine anger appears, as war, pestilence and 
famine — the sacred and salutary custom of pastors ex- 
horting to fasting and prayer has always been observed in 
the church. Though some may question whether fasting 
is suited to the church, none will question as to prayer. 
We certainly have, however, the example of the apostles 
as to fasting. Very many regard it as not very necessary, 
others reject it altogether, and some hold that it tends to 
superstition, not understanding what utility there can be 
in it. Let us, therefore, consider the question. 

A holy and lawful fast has three ends in view. The 
fiist is to mortify and subdue the flesh; the second, to 
prepare for prayer and meditation ; the third, to evidence 
humility when we are confessing guilt. The first of these 
does not apply so well to public fasting, because all have 
not the necessary constitution nor due health, and hence 
applies better to private fasting. The second and third 
apply both to the whole church, and to each individual; 
for sometimes the Lord smites the whole nation with dire- 
ful calamity, while sometimes it is confined to one in- 
dividual and his family; in either place, it behooves to 
plead guilty and confess guilt. Indeed, the thing is 
properly a feeling of the mind, and then the feeling will 
be externally manifested. 

Thus, when Paul and Barnabas were to be ordained to 
the important work of carrying the gospel to the heathen, 
the Christians of Antioch observed fasting and prayer 
(Acts xiii. 3) ; when Paul and Barnabas ordained elders 
in every church, it w^as with fasting and prayer (Acts xiv. 
23) ; when Luke says that Anna served God day and 
night with fasting and prayer, he simply intimates that 
in this way she trained herself to assiduity in prayer 
(Luke ii. 37) ; thus Nehemiah, by fasting and prayer 
with more intense earnestness, prayed to God for the de- 
liverance of his people (JSTehemiah i. 4) ; for this reason 


Paul advised married believers to abstinence for a time 
(1 Corinthians vii. 5). 

If the Israelitish church, formed and constituted by 
the Lord himself, made use of public fastinjo; in token of 
sadness, why may we not do the same ? It is indeed an 
external ceremony, but, like all the ceremonies appointed 
to Israel (Joel ii. 15), terminated in Christ. I*^ay, in the 
jDresent day, it is an admirable help to believers as it 
always was. Accordingly, when our Saviour excuses his 
apostles for not fasting, he does not say that fasting is 
abrogated, but only reserves it for calamitous times, and 
conjoins it with mourning (Matthew ix. 35 ; Luke v. 34). 

But let us define what is fasting. It is not simply a 
restrained and sparing use of food, because a Christian 
life ought always to be tempered with frugality and so- 
briety. But fasting is to retrench somewhat from our 
accustomed mode of living for one day or for a certain 
period, and to perform those actions of repentance, hu- 
miliation, thanksgiving, intercession and prayer, for the 
sake of which the fast was appointed. 

But unless pastors observe the greatest care, fasting 
may give rise to sundry evils, much worse than no fasting 
at all. The first thing to be feared is the encroachment 
of superstition. Joel ii. 13 says, "Rend your hearts, and 
not vour garments." Fastina; is of no value in the siffht 
of God unless accompanied with true dissatisfaction with 
sin and with one's self, true humiliation and true grief, 
from the fear of God. Fasting is only an inferior help to 
these internal affections. God abominates nothing more 
than the substitution of outward signs for real exercises 
of the heart. Accordingly, Isaiah inveighs against the 
hypocrisy of the Jews, "Is this such a fast as I have 
chosen" (Isaiah Iviii. 5-7). Another danger to \^tch 
against is the idea that fasting is a work involving merit. 
In itself it is a thing indifferent. It is of no importance 
except as to the end for which employed. It is most per- 
nicious to confound this with works enjoined by God as 
necessary in themselves. This Manichean dream Augus- 
tine severely rebukes. A third error is the exacting of 
fasting with greater severity and rigor as a principal duty, 
and the extolling of it with such encomiums as make the 

Calvin's institutes. 289 

people think they have done something admirable when 
thej have fasted. Therefore, I do not entirely excuse 
some ancient writers as having sown seeds of superstition 
by their extravagant praises of fasting ; for, at that time, 
the superstitious observance of Lent had general preva- 
lence, both the vulgar imagining that they thereby per- 
formed some excellent service to God, and the very pas- 
tors praising it as a holy imitation of Christ. Christ did 
not fast forty days as an example to others, but to show 
that his gospel was not of men, but had come from heaven. 
Strange that so many men of acute judgment should fall 
into this gross delusion which so many clear reasons 
refute. 1, Christ did not fast repeatedly, as if ordaining 
an anniversary fast, but only once as preparing to pro- 
mulgate the gospel. 2, He did not fast after the manner 
of men, as giving them an example for their imitation. 
It was rather an example to excite their admiration. 3, 
In short, his fast was like that of Moses, when he received 
the law from God. The miracle of Moses' forty days' 
fast was to establish the law, and it behooved to be per- 
formed also by Christ, that the gospel might not seem 
inferior. But no one among the Israelites ever set up 
such a fast to imitate Moses, nor did any of the holy 
prophets and fathers do the like. It is only false zeal 
and egregious superstition to fast forty days in imita- 
tion of Christ. 

Worse times followed. To the absurd zeal of the com- 
mon people, on the side of the bishops were added igno- 
rance and rudeness, lust of power and tyrannical rigor. 
Impious laws Avere passed, binding the conscience in 
deadly chains. The eating of flesh was forbidden, as if 
a man were contaminated by it. Sacrilegious opinions 
were added, one after another, until all became an abyss 
of error. They make a mock of God ; for in the use of 
the most exquisite delicacies they claim the praise of fast- 
ing. JSTever was there greater abundance or variety or 
savoriness of food. Meantime, the holiest of them were 
wallowing foully. The highest worship of God was to 
abstain from flesh, though indulging in every kind of 
delicacy ; on the other hand, it was the greatest impiety, 
scarcely to be expiated by death, if one should taste a 


bit of bacon or rancid flesh witli liis broad ; Jerome writes 
to l^epotian of these things in his day. What was then 
the fault of a few is now common among all the rich : 
they do not fast for any other purpose than to feast after- 
ward more richly and luxuriously. In Sermon I. on 
Easter Day, Bernard censures, among others, princes 
also for longing, during the time of Lent, for the ap- 
proaching festival of our Lord's resurrection, that they 
might indulge more freely. 

The thirteenth chapter treats of vows and the miserable 
entanglements caused by vowing rashly. This chapter 
consists of two parts: I. Of vows in general (Sec. 1-8). 
11. Of monastic vows, and especially of the vow of celi- 
bacy (Sec. S-21), all of which will be passed over. 

Calvin begins the discussion by deploring how the free 
chtirch of Christ, whose liberty w^as purchased by his 
blood, is, through the craft of Satan, burdened with a 
cruel tyranny, and almost buried under a mass of human 
traditions ; but not the church only, each individual 
member, tyrannized over by his own conscience, laying 
burdens on himself. This has been the result of men 
undertaking to add, through vows, stronger obligations 
than God himself had put upon them. We have already 
shown (Book IL, Chap, viii.. Sec. 5) that everything 
necessary for a pious and holy life is comprehended in the 
law ; also that the Lord, the better to dissuade us from 
devising new works, included the whole of righteousness 
in simple obedience to his will. It is easy, then, to see 
that all factitious worship, devised by us for the service of 
God, is not in the least degree acceptable to him, however 
pleasing it may be to us. In many texts, God not only 
rejects, but expresses abhorrence of such worship. Hence 
arises the doubt in regard to vows which are made with- 
out any express authority from the word of God. Can 
they be duly made by Christian men, and to what extent 
are they binding? We are careful what we promise to- 
man, much more careful should we be what vows we make 
to God. Here superstition has in all ages prevailed, not 
only with heathen people, but amongst Christians as m'oII. 
I^othing can be less becoming, but nothing has been more 
usual. Despising the law of God, mankind have burned 

Calvin's institutes. 291 

Avith insane zeal for making vows according to any 
dreamy notions which they themselves have conceived. 
When we treat of vows, therefore, we are not discussing a 
superlluons question. 

Three things must now be considered. 1, Who is it to 
whom we make vows ? 2, What are we that make them ? 
3, With what intent do we make them \ In regard to the 
first, we should consider that it is God to whom we vow, 
and that he very greatly delights in our obedience, and as 
much abominates will-worship. We must not, therefore, 
arrogate to ourselves a license to promise anything to 
God without his assurance that it will please him. Paul's 
doctrine, that whatsoever is not of faith is sin, while it ex- 
tends to matters of every kind, applies especially to cases 
where we are making an offering to God. In vows, then, 
our first precaution must be to attempt nothing rashly; 
and we shall be safe from the danger of rashness, when 
we have God going before and dictating from his word 
what will be acceptable. 

The second point is that we measure our strength, and 
consider our vocation, so as not to neglect the blessing of 
liberty, which God has conferred upon us. For he who 
vows what is not within his means, or is at variance with 
his calling, is rash ; while he wdio contemns the benefi- 
cence of God in giving him so much liberty, is ungrateful. 
Every man should have respect to the measure of grace 
bestowed on him, as Paul enjoins (Romans xii. 3 ; 1 
C^orinthians xii. 4), lest, by arrogating too much to him- 
self, he fall headlong. For example, the Jews, who 
vowed not to eat or drink until they had assassinated 
Paul, had no power over Paul's life. Thus Jephthah suf- 
fered for his folly, when, with precipitate fervor, he made 
a rash vow (Judges xi. 30). Of this class, the first place 
for insane audacity belongs to the vow of celibacy by the 
priests, monks and nuns, ignorant so dreadfully of hu- 
man weakness. 

The third point is with what intention the vow is 
made. God looks at the heart ; according to the purpose 
of the mind, the same thing may at one time please and be 
acce^Dtable to him, and at another be most displeasing. If 
you vow total abstinence from wine, as of holiness, or as 


if it were sin to drink it, you are superstitious; but if 
you have some end in view, which is not perverse, no one 
can disapprove. So far as I can see, there are four ends 
to which our vows may be properly directed ; two of these 
refer to the past, and two to the future. To the past be- 
long vows of thanksgiving for favors received, or for pun- 
ishment on ourselves for faults committed ; vows of 
thanksgiving, as Jacob's (Genesis xxviii. 20), and of 
peace offerings to the Lord, as of kings of old, when going 
to war, if they were victorious. Thus, also, are to be 
understood all the passages in the Psalms which speak of 
vows(Ps. xxi. 25 ; Ivi. 12 ; cxvi. 14, IS). These are law- 
ful in these days, as thank-offerings to the Lord for mercy 
received or desired — for they accord with the word of 
God. Again, to the past refers the vow of repentance or 
self-punishment. A man, by gluttonous indulgence, hav- 
ing fallen into iniquity, renounces luxuries for a time, 
and trains himself to temperance, and, therefore, binds 
himself with a vow, that he may stand more firmly. Yet 
I do not lay this do^vn as a law for all who have similarly 
offended ; I merely speak of what may be done if one 
thinks such a vow could be useful to him. Thus, while I 
hold it lawful to make such a vow, I, at the same time, 
consider it not obligatory. 

The vows that relate to the future are either cautions or 
stimuli. A man sometimes sees that in the use of a thing 
that is lawful, he cannot restrain himself, and so falls into 
evil, and he cuts off himself for a time by a vow from the 
use of that thing. If a man finds some bodily ornament 
brings him into peril, and yet he is allured by cupidity 
to long for it, why not impose a curb on his desires by a 
vow, and so free himself from danger ? If one becomes 
oblivious or sluggish in the duties of piety, why not, by a 
vow, both awaken his memory and shake off his sloth ? 
These are helps to infirmity, and may be used to advan- 
tage by the ignorant and imperfect. Hence we hold that 
vows, having respect to one of these four ends, especially 
in external things, are lawful, provided they are sup- 
ported by the approbation of God, are suitable to our 
calling, and are limited to the measure of grace bestowed 
upon us. 

Calvin's institutes. 293 

We now see what view ought to be taken of all vows. 
There is one vow common to all believers ; it is taken at 
baptism, confirmed in our catechising and partaking of 
the Lord's supper. The sacraments are a kind of mutual 
contracts, by which the Lord conveys his mercy to us, and 
by it eternal life ; on our side, we vow obedience. The 
substance of the vow is that we renounce Satan, and bind 
ourselves to the service of God. This vow is certainly 
sanctioned by scripture, nay, exacted from all the chil- 
dren of God, and is holy and salutary, yet no man keeps 
or can keep it, but this stipulation is included in the cov- 
enant of grace, which comprehends forgiveness of sins 
and the spirit of holiness, so that the promise, which we 
there make, but do not keep, is combined with entreaty 
for pardon, and petition for assistance. Any one can 
easily estimate the character of each single vow by re- 
membering the three given rules. But I do not advise 
every day making vows that are holy. I can give no pre- 
cept as to time or number, yet, if any will take my advice, 
he will not undertake any but what are sober and tem- 
porary. If ever and anon you launch out into vows, the 
solemnity will be lost by the frequency, and you will fall 
into superstition. If you bind yourself by a perpetual 
vow, you will have great trouble and annoyance in getting 
free, or, worn out by length of time, you will at length 
make, bold to break it. 

Tried by these rules, what superstitions the world has 
labored under for ages past ! One vows that he will ab- 
stain from wine, as if this were in itself an acceptable ser- 
vice to God. Another binds himself to fast, another to 
abstain from flesh on certain days, making that more 
holy than other days. Things much more boyish were 
vowed, but not by boys. It became great wisdom to make 
votive pilgrimages to holy places, and sometimes to per- 
form the journey on foot, or with the body half naked, 
that the greater merit might be acquired by the greater 
fatigue. All these things, tried by the rules we have laid 
down, will be found, not only empty and nugatory, but 
filled with manifest impiety. Be the judgment of the flesh 
what it may, God abhors nothing more than factitious 
worship. To these are added pernicious and damnable 


notions, hypocrites, after performing such frivolities, 
thinking that thej have acquired no ordinary righteous- 
ness, placing the substance of piety in external observ- 
ances, and despising all others who appear less careful in 
regard to them. 

Part II. — Of the Sacraments. 

The fourteenth chapter treats of the sacraments. This 
chapter consists of two principal parts : I. Of sacraments 
in general. The sum of the doctrine stated (Sec. 1-6). 
Two classes of opponents to be guarded against, viz., 
those who undervalue the power of the sacraments, and 
those who attribute too much to the sacraments (Sec. 
7-17). All these will be passed over, the first-named 
being the Anabaptists, and the second being the Roman- 
ists. 11. Of the sacraments in particular, both of the Old 
and the 'New Testaments. Their scope and meaning 
(Sec. 18-22). Refutation of those wdio have either too 
high or too low ideas of the sacraments (Sec. 23-26), 
which will be passed over. 

A sacrament is an external sign, by which the Lord 
seals on our consciences his promise of good-will toward 
lis, in order to sustain the weakness of our faith, and we, 
in our turn, testify our piety towards him, both before 
himself, and before angels and men. 

More briefly, we may define it thus : A testimony of 
the divine favor toward us, confirmed by an external sign, 
w^ith a corresponding attestation of our faith towards him. 

Both these definitions agree with Augustine's — a vis- 
ible sign of a sacred thing, or a visible form of an invis- 
ible grace. This is briefer, but somewhat obscure. I 
prefer to make the definition fuller, in order that it may 
be more plain to all. 

Calvin next explains how these ordinances come to be 
called sacraments. The old interpreter, whenever he 
wished to render the Greek term ivjarrjoto)^ into Latin, 
specially when used with reference to divine things, em- 
ployed the word sacramentum. Thus in Ephesians i. 9, 
"Having made knovm unto us the mystery {sacramen- 
tum) of his will." So, also, Ephesians iii. 2 ; Colossians 
i. 26; 1 Timothy iii. 16. He was unwilling to use the 

Calvin's institutes. 295 

word arcanum, lest it should seem beneath the magnitude 
of the thing meant. When the thing, therefore, was 
sacred and secret, he used the term sacramentum. In 
this sense, it frequently occurs in ecclesiastical writers. 
Thus it was that this term was applied to such ordinances 
as give an august representation of things spiritual and 

It follows from the definition given, that there never is 
a sacrament without an antecedent promise to the sacra- 
ment, being an appendage to confirm the promise as with 
a seal. In this way, God provides, first, for our ignorance 
and sluggishness, and, secondly, for our infirmity ; but 
properly speaking, the sacrament does not confirm his 
word, but only establishes us in the faith of it; for the 
truth of God is in itself sufficiently stable and certain. 
It cannot receive confirmation from any other quarter. 
But, as our faith is slender and weak, so, if not propped 
up on every side and supported by all kinds of means, it 
is forthwith shaken, tossed to and fro, wavers and even 
falls. But here our merciful Lord, in his boundless con- 
descension, so accommodates himself to our capacity, that 
seeing how, from our animal nature, we are always creep- 
ing on the ground, and cleaving to the flesh, having no 
thought of what is spiritual, and not even forming an idea 
of it, he declines not, by means of these earthly elements, 
to lead us to himself ; and, even in the flesh, to exhibit a 
mirror of spiritual blessings ; for, as Chrysostom says 
(Horn. GO, ad Popiil.'), "Were we incorporeal, he would 
give us these things in a naked and incorporeal form. 
Xow, because our souls are implanted in bodies, he de- 
livers spiritual things under things visible, l^ot that 
the qualities, Avhich are set before us in the sacraments, 
are inherent in the nature of the things, but God gives 
them this signification." 

When we say the sacrament consists of the word and 
the sign, we are not to refer to the word of consecration, 
muttered without meaning and without faith, but the 
preached word, which makes us understand what the 
sign means. Calvin describes the Komish formula of 
consecration, before his day, as muttered by the priest 
in Latin, while the people, without understanding, looked 


stiipidly on. 'N^y, this was done for the express purpose 
of preventing any instruction from thereby reaching the 
people. At length, superstition rose to such a height that 
it was thought the consecration was not duly performed 
except in a low grumble, which few could hear. Very 
different is the doctrine of Augustine, who says, "Let the 
word be added to the sign, and it becomes a sacrament." 
You see how he required preaching to the production of 
faith. So the apostle says, "This is the word of faith 
Avhich we preach" ( Romans x. 8 ; Acts xv. 9 ; 1 Peter 
iii. 21). And there is not the least doubt as to what 
Christ did, and commanded us to do ; nor as to what the 
apostles followed, and a purer church observed. ]^ay, 
from the very beginning, whenever God offered any sign 
to the holy patriarchs, it was inseparably attached to doc- 
trine. Therefore, wherever we hear mention of the sac- 
ramental word, let us understand the promise, which, 
proclaimed aloud by the minister, leads the people by the 
hand to that to which the sign tends and directs us. 

The sacramental signs are like seals aiSxed to diplomas, 
and other public deeds ; in a blank paper they are noth- 
ing, but to what is written they add much. ISTor is this a 
fiction of our own, for Paul himself uses it, terming cir- 
cumcision a seal in Romans iv. 11, where he maintains 
that the sacrament of circumcision was to Abraham an 
attestation to the covenant, by the faith of which he had 
been previously justified. We preach that the promise 
in the covenant is sealed by the sacrament, since it is 
plain, from the promises themselves, that one promise 
confirms another. Sacraments are the clearest promises, 
for they are promises pictured to the eye. But how can 
a carnal seal confirm a spiritual promise ? The believer's 
faith looks through the carnal spectacle, and rises to the 
sublime mystery hidden in the sacraments. 

As the Lord calls his promises covenants (Genesis vi. 
18; ix. 9; xvii. 2), and sacraments signs of the cove- 
nants, so something similar may be inferred from human 
covenants, viz., that the words give meaning to the signs. 
The slaughter of a hog might mean nothing. The joining 
of hands might mean battle as well as friendship. The 
use of sacraments is to confirm promises, and because we 


are carnal, carnal objects are used in our spiritual train- 
ing to exhibit and establish the promise, just as nurses 
lead children by the hand. Hence Augustine says a sac- 
rament is a promise exhibited to the eye, while preaching 
sets it forth to the ear. There are other similitudes 
which plainly designate the sacraments as appendages to 
the word. They may be called the pillars of our faith, 
which rest on the word, as a building on its foundation, 
though pillars may be used to still further strengthen it. 
Or they may be called mirrors, in which we may contem- 
plate the riches of the glory of his grace revealed in his 

Calvin now proceeds to defend the sacraments against 
two classes of opponents — first, the Anabaptists, who 
undervalue them (in Sec. Y-13), and, secondly, the Ro- 
manists (in Sec. 14-17), who ascribe to them a secret 
virtue nowhere attributed to them by the Lord. All these 
will be passed over, to come to the concluding sections 
(18-26) of the sacraments in particular, both of the Old 
and ^ew Testaments, their scope and meaning. 

Sacraments of Old and New Testaments in Particular. 

ISTow, therefore, we have this fixed point, regarding 
sacraments, that their only ofiice does not differ from that 
of the word, which is to hold forth Christ to us, and the 
treasures of divine grace, which are in him. They have 
no inherent virtue. They confer nothing, avail nothing 
without faith; in other words, we get nothing else from 
them — only more of what we bring to them. Their only 
ofijce is to attest the benevolence of the Lord to us. They 
only avail, as accompanied by the Holy Spirit, enabling 
us to receive this testimony, as the vessel which is not 
open cannot receive the liquid which is poured out 
upon it. 

Sacraments, then, include all th,e signs God ever gave 
to confirm his promises to men. Some of these have been 
natural objects ; some miracles. Of the former class 
were the tree of life to Adam and Eve; the rainbow 
in the cloud to ]Sroah. There was no change in the things, 
but only a new character impressed on them, which even 
at this day we behold in the rainbow. It is just so with 


the bullion turned into coin; it has received no more in- 
trinsic value, but legally a much greater. Of the second 
class, were the smoking flax to Abraham, of Gideon's 
fleece, dewy or dry, and the going back of the shadow on 
Hezekiah's dial. 

We proceed to speak of the ordinary sacraments given 
by God to bring up his worshippers and servants in one 
faith, and the confession of that faith ; for, as Augustine 
says, "In no name of religion, true or false, can men be 
assembled religiously, except by some common use of 
visible signs." Thus the sacraments, given to the church, 
are not simple signs, but sacred, divine ceremonies, or, 
as Chrysostom calls them, "pactions between God and 
men,'' to cherish faith and to testify their religion. 

The sacraments given to the Old Testament church 
were, first, circumcision, and then afterwards purifica- 
tions, sacrifices, and rites of the Mosaic law. To the 
Christian church were given only baptism and the Lord's 
supper. You may call the laying on of hands a sacra- 
ment, if you please, but certainly it was not a sacrament 
of the whole church. 'Nov/ the only difference between 
the sacraments of the Old Testament church and those 
of the iSTew Testament church is, that the former pointed 
forwards to Christ as expected, while the latter pointed 
backwards to him as having already come ; for God never 
niade a promise to fallen man except in Christ, and, 
therefore, when sacraments remind us of any promise, 
they must always remind us of, and lead us to, Christ. 

Let us consider singly the signification of the Jewish 
sacraments. First, circumcision set forth the sinfulness 
of our nature; something which was to be cut off. It 
was also a memorial to them of the promise to Abraham 
of a saving seed, viz., Christ (in GaL v. 16), who should 
bless all nations, and through whom they should recover 
all they had lost in Adam. Therefore, it was to them, as 
it had ])een to Abraham, a sign and seal of the righteous- 
ness of faith, by which they received certain assurance 
that, if they waited for the Lord, it would be accepted by 
God for righteousness. But in Chapter XVI., Sec. 3, 4, 
we shall have better opportunity to follow up the com- 
parison between circumcision and baptism. 


Secondly, their washings and purifications placed 
under their eye the uncleanuess and pollution with which 
they were naturally contaminated, and promised another 
laver, in which all their impurities might be washed 

Thirdly, their sacrifices convicted them of their guilti- 
ness, and the necessity of some satisfaction to divine jus- 
tice, so that there must be a high priest between God and 
man, and a victim to be sacrificed to this justice. The 
high priest was Christ, and he was himself the victim, 
shedding his ovra blood to appease divine wrath, and by 
his obedience, which was perfect, abolished the disobedi- 
ence of man. 

As to the Christian sacraments, they still more clearly 
set forth Christ — baptism, that we are washed and puri- 
fied ; the eucharist, that we are redeemed. Ablution is 
figured by water, satisfaction by blood. Both are found 
in Christ, who, as John says, came by water and blood; 
that is, to purify and redeem. Of this, John also says, 
there are three witnesses, the Spirit, and the water, and 
the blood ; but the Spirit is the chief witness, who gives 
us the full assurance of this testimony. And this sub- 
lime mystery Avas illustriously displayed on the cross of 
Christ, when both water and blood poured forth from 
his side. Of these iSTew Testament sacraments we shall 
shortly treat at greater length. 

The fifteenth chapter treats of baptism in two parts. 
The first part sets before us the two ends of baptism ( Sec. 
1-13). The second part may be reduced to four heads. 
Of the use of baptism (Sec. 14, 15). Of the worthiness 
or unworthiness of the minister (Sec. 16-18). Of the 
ccrruptions by which this sacrament was polluted (Sec. 
19). To whom reference is had in the dispensation (Sec. 

Baptism is the initiatory sign by which we are ad- 
mitted to the fellowship of the church. The two ends of 
baptism (in common with all other sacraments) are, first, 
that it may minister to our faith in him, and, secondly, 
serve for one confession of him before men. We shall ex- 
plain both these ends in their order. 

First. Baptism contributes to our faith three things. 


One is, that it becomes a sign to us of our purification, or, 
to speak more plainly, it is an assurance to us of oiu* for- 
giveness, and of our sins being so covered and effaced 
that tliev will never come into his sight, never be men- 
tioned, never imputed ; for we are to receive baptism in 
connection with the promise, ''He that believeth and is 
baptized shall be saved" (Mark xvi. 16). 

In the same way, Paul says Christ loved the church, 
and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and 
cleanse it with the washing of water by the word (Eph. v. 
25, 26) ; the same, also, is said in Titus iii. 5, and in 1 
Peter iii. 21. Baptism, then, is by no means the cause of 
salvation ; only the knowledge and certainty of it is testi- 
fied and seen in this sacrament. By it the message of our 
ablution and sanctification is sealed — as in the word it is 
announced. The only purification which baptism prom- 
ises is that which is effected by the sprinkling of the blood 
of Christ, who is figured by water from the resemblance 
between washing and cleansing. Who, -then, dare ascribe 
to the water the cleansing which we receive from the blood 
of Christ ? since the sacrament leads us away from the 
vifcible element that we may fix our minds on Christ 

Calvin has here in mind the church of Rome, which 
makes sacraments the causes of grace, whilst we regard 
them as only a means through faith. 

iSTor is baptism bestowed only with reference to past 
sins, for by it we are washed and purified once for the 
whole of our life. It was from that error that some, in 
ancient times, refused to be received into the church by 
baptism, until they should be drawing their last breath, 
so that they might be washed for all their past. Ancient 
bishops frequently inveigh against this preposterous pre- 
caution. On the contrary, as often as we fall, after being 
baptized, Ave must recall to mind that in our baptism we 
A\'ere made certain and secure of the remission of all our 
sins, future, as well as past. For baptism, once truly ad- 
ministered, cannot be abolished by subsequent sins ; for 
therein was pledged to us the purity of Christ, which is 
always in force, not to be destroyed by any stain. Xor 
must we hence assume a license of sinning for the future. 

Calvin's institutes. 301 

Tlie truth we have just set forth is only for those who, 
when they have sinned, groan, and are burdened, and op- 
pressed, that they may have somewhat to support them. 
Paul, indeed, says that Christ is our propitiation for sins 
that are past (Romans iii. 25) ; hut he does not thereby 
deny that constant and perpetual forgiveness of sins is 
thereby obtained even till death. He only intimates that 
it is designed by the Father for those poor sinners, who, 
wounded by remorse of conscience, sigh for the physician. 
To these Paul here offers the mercy of God. Those who, 
from hopes of impurity, seek a license for sin, only pro- 
voke the wrath and justice of God. 

A second contribution by baptism to our faith in 
Christ is its showing us our being dead with Christ, and 
having new life in him. "Know _Ye not," says the apostle, 
in Romans vi. 3-6, "that when baptized into Christ, we 
were baptized into his death ? Therefore, we are buried 
with him by baptism into death, that we should walk 
in newness of life." In these passages he shows that 
Christ, by baptism, has made us partakers of his death, 
ingrafting us into that death ; for, as the twig derives 
substance and nourishment from the root to which it is 
attached, so those who are baptized in true faith, truly 
feel the efficacy of Christ's death in the mortification of 
their flesh (that is, their i)ld nature), and the efficacy of 
his resurrection in the quickening of the Spirit (that is, 
their new-born nature). On this he founds his exhorta- 
tion, that if we are Christians, we should die unto sin, 
and live unto righteousness. In this same sense, he 
speaks in Colossians ii. 12, and Titus iii. 5. In baptism, 
we are promised, first, the free pardon of sins and impu- 
tation of righteousness, and, secondly, the grace of the 
Holy Spirit to form us again to newness of life. 

The third advantage which our faith in Christ re- 
ceives from baptism is its assuring us not only that we 
are dead with Christ, and alive with Christ, but that we 
are also so united to him as to be partakers of all the good 
things that are his (omnium ejus honorum) ; for he con- 
secrated baj)tism in his own body, that he might have it 
as the firmest bond of union and fellowship with us. 
Hence Paul proves us to be the sons of God, from the 


fact that we put on Christ hi our ha})tisui. Thus wc sec, 
in Christ, the filling up, or perfecting (coniplementuni), 
of our baptism, whom, for this reason, we call the proper 
object, the object we aim at in baptism. Hence it is not 
strange if the apostles are reported to have baptized in 
the name of Christ, though they were commanded to liap- 
tize in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost (Acts 
viii. 16 ; xix, 5 ; Matthew xxviii. 19) ; for all the divine 
gifts held forth in baptism are found in Christ alone. 
And yet it cannot but be that he who baptizes in the name 
of Christ has also invoked the name of the Father and the 
Spirit. We are cleansed by his blood, because our Father 
appointed him Mediator to effect our reconciliation with 
himself. Regeneration we obtain from his death and 
resurrection, only as sanctified by his Spirit, we are im- 
bued with a new and spiritual nature. Thus, first, John 
baptized, and thus, afterwards, the apostles, by the bap- 
tism of repentance for the remission of sins, understand- 
ing by the term repentance, regeneration, and by the re- 
mission of sins, ablutions. 

It is, therefore, perfectly certain that John received 
the very same commission that was afterward given to the 
apostles, because the doctrine of both was the same. Both 
baptized unto repentance and remission of sins in the 
name of Christ, from whom repentance and remission 
proceed. Moreover, John pointed out Christ as the Lamb 
of God, and what more could the apostles add to that ? 
Ancient writers deny the sameness, as both Chrysostom 
and Augustine, but their opinions cannot shake the cer- 
tainty of scripture. Luke asserts that John preached the 
baptism of repentance for the remission of sins (Luke iii. 
3). The only difference is, that John baptized in the 
name of him who Avas to come ; the apostles in the name 
of him who had already come (Luke iii. 16 ; Acts xix. 4). 

If John's baptism never involved the miraculous gifts 
of the Spirit, neither did the baptisms of the apostles dur- 
ing Christ's life-time involve those gifts; yet they are 
all admitted to be Christian baptisms. I suppose that the 
thing which imposed on the ancient writers, and made 
them deny the sameness of the baptisms in question, was 
because they thought the twelve disciples at Ephesus, who 


received the baptism of John, were again baptized by 
Panl (Acts xix. 3-5). When John discriminates (Matt. 
iii. 11), it is not between his baptism and Christian bap- 
tism ; he merely contrasted his own person with that of 
Christ, John baptizing only with water and our Lord 
with the Spirit on the day of Pentecost in tongues of fire. 
What can any minister now say more than that he bap- 
tizes with water ? 

The things which we have said respecting mortifica- 
tion and ablution, were adumbrated to Israel, who were, 
as the apostle said, baptized both in the cloud and in the 
sea (1 Cor. x. 2). Mortification Avas figured when the 
Lord carried them through the sea, but drowned Pharaoh 
and his hosts. In this way he promises us, and by a sign, 
which is baptism, shows us that he leads, and mightily 
delivers us from our bondage of sin ; we thus see our 
Pharaoh, which is the devil, drowned, though he still tries 
to harass us, as the Israelites were terrified by the body 
of Pharaoh cast out upon the shore, though he could not 
hurt them. Our adversary still threatens, shows his arm, 
and is felt, but cannot conquer. On the other hand, the 
cloud was a symbol of purification and ablution (]Srum. 
ix. 18), for it covered and protected Israel from the heat 
of the sun, and so in baptism, we perceive that we are 
covered and protected by the blood of Christ, lest the 
wrath of God, that intolerable flame, should lie upon us. 
Thus the fathers, whom God had adopted as heirs, w^ere 
furnished with both badges. 

Some long ago taught, and some still maintain, that by 
baptism we are set free from original sin, and the corrup- 
tion propagated by Adam to all his posterity, and all re- 
stored to the same holy nature which he lost by his fall. 
But these men understand neither what is meant by 
original sin, nor original righteousness, nor the grace of 

Calvin seems to refer here to the Anabaptists. Bap- 
tism can perform of itself neither of these things. In 
Book II., Chap, i.. Sec. 8, he had explained that original 
sin is the corruption of our nature by the fall, which first 
makes us liable to the wrath of God, and then perpetuates 
itself in the conduct of ever^^ human life. He identifies 


tlie nature, and the acts which it prodnces, on the anthor- 
ity of Paul (Romans v. 12). A nature which produces 
only sinful acts is to be treated like a sinful person. This 
corrupt nature is not to be removed by baptism, but con- 
tinues to be the torment of every believer till death. 

So Calvin continues: ''Two things must be distinctly 
observed, viz., that we are vitiated in all parts of our 
nature, and then, on account of this corruption, are justly 
held to be condemned before God, who can tolerate only 
purity, innocence and righteousness. And hence even 
infants are corrupt from their birth, for, although they 
do not yet show the fruits of unrighteousness, they have 
its seeds within them. ISTay, their whole moral nature is, 
as it were, a seed-bed of sin, and, therefore, odious and 
abominable to God." 

In the remainder of this paragraph immediately fol- 
lowing the words of Calvin just set down as to infants, he 
signifies that such being the sinful nature in which we are 
all born, derived from our first father Adam, in whose 
disobedience, as represented by him, we do all partake, 
and such the penalty to which this sinful nature, and the 
sinful acts which continually flow from it, justly expose 
us, baptism comes to every believer with the assurance 
that of all these, our sins, original and actual, through 
faith in Christ, he has received full and entire remission. 
It also assures him that he has obtained righteousness, 
such righteousness as the people of God can obtain in 
this life, viz., by imj)utation, only God, in his mercy, for 
Christ's righteousness' sake, regarding them as righteous 
and innocent. 

Thus this corruption of nature never ceases in us, but 
constantly produces new fruits, viz., the works of the 
flesh, just as a burning furnace perpetually sends forth 
flame and sparks, or a living fountain, waters ; for concu- 
piscence never wholly dies in mankind until, freed by 
death from the body of death, they have altogether laid 
aside their own nature (Book III., Chap, iii., Sec. 
10-13). Baptism indeed tells us that our Pharaoh is 
drowned, and sin mortified ; not so, however, as no longer 
to give us trouble, but only so as not to have dominion ; 
for, as long as we live, the remains of sin dwell in us, but 


thej shall neither rule nor reign. Meanwhile, let ns not 
cease to contend strenuonslv, and press on to complete 

All this Paul expounds most clearlv in Romans sixth 
and seventh chapters. Because justification is free and 
accompanied with regeneration, and because we have a 
pledge of this regeneration in baptism, believers must 
not let sin reign in their members. But, because of the 
infirmitj in all believers, Paul adds, for their consolation, 
that they are not under the law, but under grace. Again, 
because there is danger that thev might grow presump- 
tuous, because they are not under the law, he explains 
what is the nature of that abrogation, and what is the use 
of the law. He tells us that we are freed from the rigor 
of the law, in order that we might adhere to Christ, and 
that the office of the law is to convince us of our depravity, 
and make us feel our impotence and wretchedness. 
Then, to show the extreme malignity of our sinful nature, 
he illustrates by its working even in a regenerate man, 
and that man is himself. He, therefore, describes his 
constant struggle with indwelling sin. Hence he is 
forced to groan and exclaim, "O wretched man that I am, 
who shall deliver me," etc. (Romans vii. 24). But lest 
the children of God should feel anxious about the result 
of this dreadful struggle, which they have to encounter, he 
therefore adds, for their comfort, there is "now no condem- 
nation to them which are in Christ Jesus" (Rom. viii. 1). 

The second end of baptism is to serve for our confess- 
ing him before men. First, it is a mark by which we 
openly declare that we wish to be ranked among the peo- 
ple of God ; secondly, by it we concur with all Christians 
in the worship of one God, and in one religion ; in short, 
by it we publicly assert our faith, so that not only do our 
hearts breathe, but our tongues also, and all the members 
of our bodv, in every w^ay they can, proclaim the praise of 

We come now to the second part of baptism, which may 
be included under four heads. First, as to the way in 
which we are to use and receive it. We are to receive it 
as from the hand of its author ; it is himself who speaks 
to us by means of the sign ; who washes and purifies us ; 


who effaces the remembrance of our faults ; who makes 
us partakers of his death, destroys the kingdom of Satan, 
weakens the power of concupiscence, nay, makes us one 
with himself, that being clothed with him, we may be 
accounted the children of God. These things we ought to 
feel as truly and certainly in our mind as we see our body 
washed with water. In the corporeal we ought to see the 
spiritual. By this badge the Lord is pleased to declare 
that he bestowed all these things upon us. I^or does he 
merely feed our eyes with bare show ; he effectually per- 
forms what he figures. 

What I have said is illustrated in the case of Cornelius. 
After first receiving the grace of the Spirit, he was bap- 
tized for the remission of sins, not seeking a fuller for- 
giveness from baptism, but a surer exercise of faith ; nay, 
an argument for assurance from a pledge. But why did 
Ananias say to Paul that he washed away his sins by 
baptism ? (Acts xxii. 16). All, then, that Ananias meant 
to say was, ''Be baptized, Paul, that you may be assured 
that your sins are forgiven you; in baptism the Lord 
promises forgiveness of sins ; receive it and be secure." 
I would not detract from the power of baptism, but would 
add to the sign the substance and the reality. From this 
sacrament, as from all others, nothing is to be gained, ex- 
cept as it is received by faith. 

The second head is as to the worthiness or unworthi- 
ness of the minister. The sacrament being from the hand 
of God himself, its dignity neither gains nor loses by the 
administrator, just as when a letter is properly signed and 
sealed, its value does not depend on the hand of the 
messenger. It was the error of the Donatists of old to 
measure the efficacy of the sacrament by the dignity of 
the minister. Such is the error of the Catabaptists in our 
day, who deny that we are properly baptized, because 
wicked men and idolaters in the papacy baptized us. We 
Avere initiated not into the name of any man, but into the 
name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, 
and, therefore, our baptism was not of man, but of God. 
It did not harm the Jews that they were circumcised by 
impure and apostate priests. Tliat did not nullify the 
symbol so that it had to be repeated. 


Calvin adds that, being baptized himself in the Romish 
church, he got the sign without faith, and so it was with 
him for some years, and that afterwards when he got the 
faith, he needed not the repetition of the sign. 

The third head is as to the corrupt and the genuine 
mode of baptism, i^ot satisfied with the ordinance ad- 
ministered according to the precept of Christ, the audac- 
ity of men has devised various corruptions to pollute the 
true consecration of water, e. g., the benediction, or rather 
the incantation ; then the taper, the chrism, the exorcism, 
the spittle, and other follies constituting an adventitious 
farrago. How much better, laying aside all these inven- 
tions of men, to bring forward the candidate, and present 
him to God, the whole church looking on as witnesses, 
and praying over him, with the recitation of the Confes- 
sion of Faith, in which the catechumen has been in- 
structed, and the explanation of the promises given in 
baptism, and then baptism in the name of the Father, and 
the Son, and the Holy Ghost, the whole concluding with 
prayer and thanksgiving. Whether the person baptized 
is to be Avholly immersed, and that whether once or thrice, 
or whether he is only to be sprinkled with water, is not of 
the least consequence. Churches should be at liberty to 
adopt either, according to the diversity of climates, al- 
though it is evident that the term baptize means to im- 
merse, and that this was the form used by the primitive 

The fourth head is, who are to administer sacraments ? 
This is always a part of the ministerial office. Christ 
commanded only apostles, and those who should succeed 
them to baptize. The same is true of the Lord's supper. 
Baptism by laics, when a minister cannot be had, dates 
back to early times, but it cannot be defended. The 
Council of Carthage (A. D. 412) decreed that women 
might not baptize. As to children dying in infancy, 
whether baptized or unbaptized, their salvation is in- 
cluded in the promise to be a God to us and to our chil- 
dren. How much evil has been caused by the dogma, ill 
expounded, that baptism is necessary to salvation, few 
perceive, and therefore think caution the less necessary; 
for, when the opinion prevails that all children are lost 


who happen not to he baptized, our condition becomes 
worse than that of God's ancient people,. as if his grace 
were more restrained than under the law, since the prom- 
ise, which was then effectual in itself to confer salvation 
before the eighth daj, would not now be effectual without 
the help of a sign. 

What the custom was before Augustine's day (A. D. 
354-430), we gather from Tertullian (A. D. 200), who 
savs that a Avoman is not permitted to speak in the church, 
nor yet to teach, or baptize, or offer, that she may not 
claim to herself any office of the man, not to say of the 
2)riest. So Epiphanius (A. I). 375) upbraids Marcian 
with giving women permission to baptize, and says that 
not even the Holy Mother of Christ had this permission. 

The example of Zipporah (Exodus iv. 25) is irrele- 
vantly quoted. As we nowhere read that the command 
to circumcise was specially given to priests, but as to 
baptism the words are plain, being addressed to ministers, 
"Go ye, therefore, and baptize," it is then a sin for wo- 
man to baptize, because she puts asunder what God has 
joined together. But this I pass, only insisting that 
Zipporah was not actually performing any service to 
God, but, fretting and indignant, she was just upbraiding 
her husband, and giving offence to God, and her whole 
procedure was dictated by passion. 

But to make an end of this question, it is sufficient to 
say that children, who depart this life before baptism, are 
not thereby excluded from the kingdom of heaven. The 
covenant of God with parents is not in itself weak. Its 
power depends not upon baptism, nor any accessories. 
The sacrament is just a seal, added to God's promise, 
merely to confirm our faith in it. The children of be- 
lievers are not aliens to the church, nor are they baptized 
in order that they may thus become children of God, but 
they are received into the church because, by virtue of the 
promise, they previously belonged to the body of Christ. 
Hence, if in our having failed to make use of the sign, 
if there was neither sloth nor contempt nor negligence, 
we are safe from all danger. By far the better course, 
therefore, is to pay such respect to the ordinance of God 
as not to seek the sacraments in any other quarter than 

Calvin's institutes. 309 

where the Lord has deposited them. When we are not 
allowed to take them from the church, the grace of God 
is not so inseparably annexed to them that we cannot ob- 
tain it by faith, according to his word. 

The sixteenth chapter treats of Picdobaptism — its ac- 
cordance with the institution of Christ, and the nature of 
the sign. This chapter is divided thus : I. Confirmation 
of the orthodox doctrine of Psedobaptism (Sec. 1-9). 
The remainder of this chapter, being refutation of the 
arguments which the Anabaptists urge against Psedobap- 
tism, and special objections of Servetus refuted, will be 
passed over. 

In this age, frenzied spirits (the Anabaptists) have 
raised great disturbance in the church, and even now con- 
tinue to raise disturbance on account of Piedobaptism. 
The ground on which they make the assault is that Psedo- 
baptism is not of apostolic origin, but devised by human 
j)resumption afterwards. 

l\ow, all Christian people must agree that the right 
consideration of signs does not lie merely in the outward 
ceremonies, but depends chiefly on the promise, and the 
spiritual mysteries to typify which the ceremonies them- 
selves are appointed. We must not stop short at the ele- 
ment and corporeal object, but look to the divine promises 
which are therein offered to us, and rise to the internal 
secrets therein represented. It remains, therefore, to in- 
quire into the nature and efiicacy of baptism. Scripture 
shows that it points, first, to that cleansing from sin 
which we obtain by the blood of Christ, and, secondly, to 
participation in his death and rising, so that the flesh is 
mortified, and nature regenerated, and believers have fel- 
lowship with Christ. To these general heads may be 
referred all that the Scriptures teach about baptism, but 
it must be added that pabtism is a testifying of our 
religion before men. 

^nTow, in respect to the two signs of circumcision and 
baptism given to the people of God, let us see in what they 
resemble each other, and in what they differ. When God 
gave circumcision to Abraham, he set himself before him 
as a God unto him and to his seed, adding that in himself 
was the perfect sufficiency for all things, and that Abra- 


ham might reckon on his hand as a fountain of every 
blessing. Eternal life was included in this promise, for 
so Christ explains it to the Jews in Matthew xxii. 32, 
and Paul also in Ephesians ii. 12, when showing to the 
Ephesians how great the deliverance God had given them 
from their original heathen state. He says to them that 
then they were aliens from the covenant of promise, with- 
out God and without hope, because without the sign in 
their previous state of uncircumcision. Xow, the first 
access to God, the first entrance to immortal life, is the 
remission of sins. Hence we see that circmncision cor- 
responds to the promise of our cleansing in baptism. 
Again God covenants with Abraham that he is to walk 
before him and be perfect, Avhere we plainly see mortifi- 
cation and regeneration, even as Moses afterwards calls 
on Israel to circumcise the foreskin of their hearts ; and 
thus is explained what is signified by that carnal circum- 
cision. We have, therefore, a spiritual promise given to 
the fathers in circumcision, similar to that which is given 
to us in baptism, since it figured to them, both the for- 
giveness of sins and the mortification of the flesh. Be- 
sides, as we have shown that Christ, in whom both of these 
reside, is the foundation of baptism, so must he also be 
the foundation of circumcision. 

Calvin's Doctrine of the Lord's Supper. 

I propose to state definitely the exact doctrine of Calvin 
on the Lord's supper. He begins by referring to our 
Lord's saying, in John vi. 51, "I am the living bread." 
Of the invisible food we get from the body and blood of 
Christ, the bread and wine are signs. The secret union 
with Christ of the believer being an incomprehensible 
mystery, the signs chosen jto set it forth are simple and 
familiar, because such are adapted to our capacity. The 
object of this sacrament, then, is to assure us of the sacri- 
fice of Christ's body and blood to be our spiritual food, 
and God renews the promise every time the cup is offered 
to us. 

The force of the sacrament is in the words, ''Take, eat, 
this is my body and blood broken and shed for you." We 
are to take, because it is ours ; to eat, for it is one sub- 


stance with its ; and it was not for himself, but for ns, 
he took flesh, and then sacrificed it. 

The sacrament, then, is not a mere sign of these things, 
but a seal to confirm the promise in John vi. Christ took 
not the appellation "Bread of Life" from the sacrament ; 
but, as such, he was given to us from eternity by the 
Father ; and, as such, he took our nature, and makes us 
partake of his ; as such, he bore our curse, was made our 
sacrifice, and raised our corruptible flesh to glory and in- 
corruption. In other words, John vi. preceded, not fol- 
lowed, the sacrament which sealed and confirmed the 
promise it sets forth. 

All these benefits we get by the gospel, and still more 
clearly by the sacrament, which assures us of what Christ 
said, "The bread which I Avill give is my flesh, for the 
life of the world." 

Here, say some, the eating is just believing. It is in- 
deed by faith, but faith is not the whole of it. It is 
rather a consequence of faith. Just as "the dwelling of 
Christ in our heart by faith" is not simple believing, but 
a consequence of it. Augustine, indeed, well says that 
we eat 'by believing, but all he meant was that the eating 
is not by the mouth, but of faith. Only Christ, it should 
be added, is not far oft' ; but we are imited to him as mem- 
bers to the head. 

Others say we do have some kind of communion with 
Christ, but it is spiritual, and not of his flesh and blood ; 
whereas he says. "My flesh is meat indeed," and that 
we have no life unless we eat that flesh and drink that 

Here now is a mystery, spoken by Christ, to be felt, 
rather than understood, of which Calvin says that he 
always feels that he falls below the dignity of it whenever 
he does his utmost to set it forth. He can only break 
forth in admiration of what the mind cannot comprehend 
nor the tongue express. What, then, exactly is this sub- 
lime mysterv of which he proceeds now to ffive a brief 
summary *. 

First, says he, the sacred Scriptures teach that Christ 
is the eternal fountain of life. "He was the Word, and 
in him was life." ISText, this life was manifested in hu- 


man form, for, as man had lost life by the fall, there re- 
mained no hope of life for him, except as he might be 
restored to it through communion with the Word. It 
could avail us nothing for life to be in the distant Word, 
but if he comes nigh, and takes our flesh, and makes it 
vivifying for us — that is, joins himself to our flesh and 
joins us to him bj his Spirit — we may then hope. "I am 
the living bread which came down from heaven, and the 
bread I will give for the life of the Avorld is my flesh." 
Life now is in our flesh, and we can reach it by the easiest 
access, by just throwing open our hearts and embracing 
it by faith ; that is, by faith we can become one with him, 
both in flesh and spirit, and enjoy all he is and all he has. 
Xow this flesh of Christ naturally was mortal, just like 
ours, and not life-giving, but he pervades it with life in 
order to transmit it to us. So he declares, "As the Father 
hath life in himself, so hath he given to the Son to have 
life in himself " — meaning, of course, to the Son as he 
has become flesh. Thus the flesh of Christ is become a 
reservoir of the water of life, constantly drawn from by 
believers through faith, and constantly replenished from 
the spring-head of his Godhead. It is for this reason we 
must be in communion with his flesh, and be members of 
his body, of his flesh and of his bones. "This," says Paul, 
'*is a great mystery." He feels unable to utter it, and so 
expresses his amazement without explaining it to us. 

Calvin's idea evidently is that we, lost and dead sin- 
ners, could never reach the infinite source of life, nor he 
us, except in this one way of his coming nigh to us in 
flesh, and making himself one with us, so as afterwards, 
in the same way, to make us one with him, that is, par- 
taking of our nature, that he might make us to partake of 
his. \\e must, therefore, have communion of his li:^e, 
which is lodged for us in the reservoir of his flesh. Life 
comes not to us from God, but from God-man. The Son 
of God is the eternal source of life. But the difficulty is 
for that life to reach fallen man. There is a legal diffi- 
culty which justification removes. But does there not 
remain a difficulty as to the vital connection ? Must there 
not be some natural tie of life betwixt the Redeemer and 
his people ? Such there clearly was betwixt the first 

Calvin's institutes. 313 

Adam and his members. He was their head, and they 
got their life through and from him. This was no 
figurative or imaginary tie, but a real, vital one, neces- 
sary to his being their representative. And must there 
not be a vital union also between the second Adam and his 
people ? ]Srow, the way in which this comes about is that 
he takes our nature on him, and then gives us his nature, 
and so we become indeed one. He takes our flesh, and 
gives us his Spirit, and so establishes a real communion of 
life with us through his flesh and blood by the Holy 

Thus, he says, Christ's flesh and blood feed our souls, 
as bread and wine our bodies, and these signs would have 
no aptitude as feeding our bodies if our souls were not fed 
by communion with the life which is in his flesh. And he 
calls on us now to let our faith conceive what our minds 
cannot understand, viz., that the Spirit can truly unite 
things separate in space. By a sacred communion of his 
flesh and blood, Christ transfuses life into us by faith ; 
and this he testifies to us, and confirms to us in the supj^er 
through the efficacy of the Spirit, so that it is no empty 
sign. Only believers, therefore, get what is set forth in 
these signs. 

It will not do to say that the language of Paul, "The 
cup of blessing, is it not the communion of the blood, and 
the bread, is it not the communion of the body of Christ ?" 
is only figiirative. It is indeed figurative, but there is 
a reality figured in this language. God does not deceive 
by holding forth an empty symbol. The Lord puts the 
symbol into your hand to assure you that you truly par- 
take of him. 

Passing from this discussion with the undervaluers of 
the sacrament, to show the absurdity of the doctrine of 
transubstantiation, and that also of consubstantiation,. 
(where he never minces words with the Lutherans), we 
find him setting forth what kind of presence of Christ 
there is in the supper, viz., such as neither affixes him to 
the element of bread, nor encloses him in bread, nor cir- 
cumscribes him in any way, nor divests him of his just 
dimensions, nor dissevers him by differences of place, nor 
assigns him a body of boundless dimensions, diffused. 


tlirongh heaven cand eartli. There must be nothing derog- 
atory to his heavenly glory, nothing inconsistent v^ith his 
true and real and proper human nature. In other words, 
it is not any physical presence of his body at all, but only 
his spiritual presence by faith. And then we come to his 
grand reiteration of his inability to comprehend the great 
mystery which Paul had not undertaken to explain. "I 
will not be ashamed," says the great, because humble, 
Genevese, "that it is too high a mystery either for my 
mind to comprehend, or my words to express; and, to 
speak more plainly, I rather feel than understand it. 
The truth of God, therefore, in which I can safely rest, I 
here embrace without controversy. He declares that 
his flesh is the meat, his blood the drink, of my soul ; I 
give my soul to him to be fed with such food. In his 
sacred supper he bids me take, eat and drink his body 
and blood, under the symbols of bread and wine. I have 
no doubt that he will truly give and I receive." Let tran- 
substantiators and consubstantiators, and all others who 
exaggerate the sacraments on the one side, and let Socin- 
ians and Eationalists, and all other depredators of them 
on the other, say what they will, we admire more than we 
can express the consummate skill and masterly power 
with which, with the Word for his rule and the Spirit 
his guide, Calvin steered betwixt Scylla and Charybdis, 
and framed for us a statement of revealed truth on this 
difficult subject, which makes it not level to our compre- 
hension, of course, but yet not confused or self-contra- 

ISTow, Dr. Cunningham says that (Jalvin makes an effort 
in all this "to bring out something like a real influence 
exerted by Christ's human nature upon the souls of be- 
lievers in connection with the dispensation of the Lord's 
supper, an effort which was, of course, unsuccessful, and 
resulted only in what was about as unintelligible as Lu- 
ther's consubstantiation. This is, perhaps, the greatest 
blot in the history of Calvin's labors as a public instruc- 
tor; and it is a curious circnmstance that the influence 
which seems to have been chiefly efficacious in leading him 
astray in the matter, was a quality for which he usually 
o-ets no credit, viz., an earnest desire to preserve unity and 

Calvin's institutes. 315 

harmony among the different sections of the Christian 
church" (Theol. Reformation, p. 240). 

ISTow I have great respect for William Cunningham, 
but more for John Calvin. I hardly know any modern 
writer whom I esteem more highly than Cunningham, 
and this is perhaps the only blot I ever discovered upon 
any of his writings. 

There are three points made against Calvin in this 
statement by Cunningham. One is that he errs in his 
doctrine of the sacrament; another, that his doctrine is 
as unintelligible as Luther's ; and a third, that he was led 
into the error by a weak desire for peace and harmony. 
Let us glance at these in the reverse order. 

First. As to the allegation that Calvin was misled into 
the error charged by overwhelming anxiety to please the 
Lutherans, the chapter we have just been considering 
bears us out in a denial of the correctness of the state- 
ment.* Calvin did, as we all know, earnestly desire to 
prevent the Lutherans and the Zwinglians from separat- 
ing; but it is, we are persuaded, a gratuitous allegation 
that this desire led him to turn and twist his doctrine into 
such a shape as would please either party. This same 
statement, in a milder form. Dr. Hodge makes, saying, in 
effect, that one great object of his life was to effect a com- 
promise between these parties {Bib. Rep., 1848, p. 229). 
I have never fully examined what evidence there may be 
for this charge, but I am well satisfied, from my ac- 
quaintance with his writings, that it would not be diffi- 
cult to defend Calvin's complete integrity in the premises, 
and to show that he holds strictly and tenaciously to a 
doctrine Avhich he considers to be written down in the 

!N"ext. As to the unintelligibleness of the doctrine, I 
have yet to learn that that quality is any absolute proof 
that a doctrine is not true. If consubstantiation, or if 
transubstantiation itself were but revealed in God's word, 
we could not object to their being mysterious. Does Dr. 
Cunningham mean to say that he finds the Trinity, or the 

* See the strong, and even offensive, terms in which he speaks of 
consubstantiation in Book IV., cxvii., §§ 16-19; and also see the 
language he uses in his controversies with Westphal and Heshusius. 


hinniliation of the second Person, or the omnipresence of 
God, or the connection of sovereignty and free agency, all 
very easy to be understood ? For one, I see no self-contra- 
dictoriness in Calvin's doctrine, and am not stumbled at 
its mystery. We find mystery al)0ve and beneath and 
around and within ns, and if we were to abandon all the 
mysterious doctrines which are imintelligible to our weak 
comprehension, Ave should just abandon our whole faith. 
The whole of Christianity moves in the s]ihere of the 

Thirdly. As to the falseness of this doctrine, which is 
"the only blot on Calvin's teaching," if Cunningham, 
with his patience, and his learning, and his candor, and 
fairness, had gone into a statement of the grounds of this 
judgment which he pronounced, there would liave been 
more satisfaction afforded us, and possibly we might have 
been convinced by the great Scotch divine. But as he only 
affirms, and that very briefly, of course, T need waste no 
time in_examining the point. 

Touching the difficulty which there is in comprehend- 
ing Calvin's doctrine of the Lord's supper, let it be re- 
membered that the subject itself is mysterious. Hear Dr. 
Charles Hodge on this point, "The Lord's supper is 
by all Christians regarded as exhibiting, and, in the case 
of believers, confirming, their union with the Lord Jesus 
Christ. Whatever obscurity rests on that union must, in 
a measure, rest on this sacrament. That union, however, 
is declared to be 'a. great mystery.' It has always, on that 
account, been called ^the mystical union.' We are, there- 
fore, demanding too much when we require all obscurity 
to be banished from this subject. If the union between 
Christ and his people were merely moral, arising from 
agreement and syiupathy, there would be no mystery 
about it, and the Lord's supper, as the symbol of that 
union, Avould be a perfectly intelligible ordinance. But 
the sacred Scriptures teach us that our union with Christ 
is far more than this. It is a vital union — we are par- 
takers of his life, for it is not we that live, but Christ that 
liveth in us." * 

* Biblical Repertory, 1848. 


Thus Dr. Hodge, and I may put now wliat Dr. Cun- 
ningham said unwisely, by way of objection to Calvin's 
doctrine, about its being unintelligible, with these wise 
and scriptural words of Dr. Hodge, concerning the im- 
possibility of its being an intelligible ordinance, as sym- 
bolizing a union, which, confessedly, is not intelligible to 
any mortal mind. 

Let me add that Dr. Hodge thus states the points re- 
lating to this union of Christ and believers, about which 
there is a general agreement amongst Christians : 1, A 
federal relation by divine constitution. 2, On Christ's 
part, a sharing of our nature. 3, A participation by us 
of the Spirit of Christ, and his indwelling within us. 4, 
This union relates to body as well as soul ; our bodies are 
temples of the Spirit, and even in the grave they are still 
united by the Spirit unto Christ. All these features of 
the union are certainly not a little unintelligible, and yet, 
being revealed, "almost all Christians," says Dr. Hodge, 
"believe them.'' He adds, "This union was always repre- 
sented as a real union, not merely imaginary, nor simply 
moral, nor arising from the mere reception of the benefits 
which Christ has procured." Dr. Hodge might have still 
further added that this union is no mere figure of speech, 
for, of course, he means so. And to make his statement 
fully and thoroughly Calvinistic, he should have added a 
fifth particular of the Christian faith, viz., that we all 
partake of his flesh and blood in the sacrament. 

Dr. Hodge proceeds, in the article whence I have drawn 
these statements, to examine : 

1. Those authorities which express the Swiss views. 

2. Those which present the views of Calvin. 

3. Those symbols in which both sides concurred. And 
then in conclusion, 

4. He proposes to analyze and state their meaning. Let 
us accompany him in this investigation. 

1. The Swiss Confessions, referred to by Dr. Hodge, 
are the Confessio Tetrapolitana, the first Basel and the 
first Helvetic. The last named protests against the rep- 
resentation that the Reformed look upon sacraments as 
mere badges of profession, asserting that they are also 
signs and means of grace. It calls the supper "coena mys- 


tica, in which Christ truly offers his body and blood, and 
hence himself, to his people," bnt says, "The body and 
blood are not naturally united with the bread and wine, or 
locally included in them or sensibly there present." In 
''The Sincere Confession of the Ministers of the Church 
of Zurich," the supper is said to be for "remembrance of 
the body and blood, devoted and shed for remission of our 
sins." This is "by faith," which renders them "present, 
in one sense, to the soul of the believer." "To believe is 
to eat, and to eat is to believe." "There is no other life- 
giving food in the supper than believers get elsewhere." 
"Christ's flesh has done its work on earth, no longer bene- 
fits on earth, and is no longer here." Observe now that 
every one of these statements Calvin accepts readily, and 
that they diifer not at all from what he employs. Zwingle 
himself is quoted as saying that the natural substantial 
body of Christ is in heaven, and is not eaten "corporeally 
in the supper, but spiritually only," and this is "to rely 
on the goodness and mercy of God throusch Christ." Dr. 
Hodge distinguishes, in a note, betwixt the doctrine ac- 
tually held by Zwingle and the name Zwinglian, which is 
popularly applied to the Socinian doctrine of the sacra- 
ments being mere signs. 

2. Let us pass to the views of Calvin, and of the Confes- 
sions formed under his influence. In stating Calvin's 
view of this matter. Dr. Hodge naturally goes to the In- 
stitutes, Book IV., Chap. xvii. ; but he quotes from sec- 
tion 10, instead of from sections 8 and 9. The conse- 
quence is not a full and clear statement, but an imperfect, 
partial, and unsatisfactory one. The reader will remem- 
ber that Calvin says Christ is the eternal source of life, 
was manifested in our nature to restore it to us when lost, 
and to bring it nigh when afar off ; that his flesh, natur- 
ally mortal like ours, was pervaded with life, in order to 
transmit life to us, and is a reservoir constantly dra^\ni 
from by all believers, but replenished continually from 
the eternal spring-head of his divinity ; that we must be 
in communion with this flow of life coming down from 
the very throne of God itself, or else have no life in us; 
that we must be members of his body, and of one spirit 
with him, or be dead. ISTow, this union, Paul savs, is a 


great mystery, and the great Genevese humbly professes 
that he feels, but does not understand it. There is cer- 
tainly, however, no great difficulty in apprehending his 
statement of the mysterious doctrine. Surely, the prince 
of the reformers does not talk any unmeaning jargon. His 
views, derived directly from scripture, he puts into plain 
and simple words. It is possible, however, of course, to 
misapprehend and to misrepresent him, and this can 
hardly be avoided, if one gives only a partial statement 
of his doctrine. What I have to say, therefore, touching 
Dr. Hodge's account of Calvin's views is (Hibernice) 
that it could not possibly be clear or complete, seeing that 
it is so very incomplete. Undertaking to set forth the 
view Calvin gives of this mystery, Dr. Hodge unfortu- 
nately begins near the close of Calvin's brief summary, 
and the result, of course, is that we have no intelligible 
account of his doctrine. 

The Confessions, formed under C-alvin's influence, 
which Dr. Hodge refers to, and from which he makes 
quotations setting forth the same views which he held, 
are : 

(1) The Galilean, adopted by Protestants of France in 
1559; (2) the Scotch, adopted'in 1560; and ( ;] ) the Bel- 
gic (or Dutch), adopted in 1561. The testimonies of 
these Confessions are all as direct and strong as possible 
in favor of the doctrine of Calvin. And they constitute 
the most important symbols of the Reformed religion, 
representing the doctrines held by the French, the Scotch, 
and the Dutch churches. There were no more important 
sections of the Keformed than these three. 

It may be worth while to refer, just here, to testimony 
from another most important quarter, though dating 
nearly one century later. I refer to the Westminster 
Confession, which is acknowledged at this day by untold 
numbers of the descendants and followers of the Re- 
formed. Its language is, "Worthy receivers, outwardly 
partaking of the visible elements in this sacrament, do 
then also inwardly, by faith, really and indeed, yet not 
carnally and corporally, but spiritually, receive and feed 
upon Christ crucified, and all the benefits of his death; 
the body and blood of Christ being not corporally or car- 


nally in, witli, or under the bread and wine, yet as really, 
but spiritually, present to the faith of believers in that 
ordinance as the elements themselves are to their outward 

8. We come to those Confessions in which Zwiugiians 
and Calvinists agreed. 

The first one referred to by Dr. Hodge is the Consensus 
Tigurinus, or the Agreement of Zurich. It was published 
with the title "Consent of Ministers of Zurich and of 
John Calvin, Minister of Geneva." Dr. Hodge says very 
truly that "in these articles there is not a word which any 
of the evangelical churches of the present day would de- 
sire to alter" (page 238). But he also alleges that Cal- 
vin's view is excluded from it (page 251). This is a 
remarkable statement. Let us recur to the history of this 
document. Let it be observed, first and foremost, that 
there were no very great diiferences betwixt the Swiss 
churches of Geneva and Zurich, touching the sacraments. 
There were at this period (twenty years or so after Zwin- 
gle's death) some differences — the remains of the wide 
separation betwixt Zwingle and Luther. It was easy to 
exaggerate these, and most desirable that they should be 
composed. In 1549, therefore, Calvin, accompanied by 
Beza, goes to Zurich to confer with Bullinger. He had 
previously written these articles with his own pen. Bul- 
linger and the others accept them. Beveridge, the com- 
petent translator of so many of Calvin's works, describes 
the conference between these brethren as one where per- 
sonal intercourse drew their hearts together, and they 
found themselves far better agreed than was supposed 
before, but he observes, "If any who subscribed the agree- 
ment must be understood by so doing to have changed 
the views they had previously entertained, he (Calvin) 
was not of the number, as there is not one of the articles 
Avliieh he had not maintained in one or other of his 
works." He adds that the effect of it was to convince 
many Lutherans how unjust it was to say that the Zwin- 
glians held to no sort of real presence at all, and it was 
confidently expected that out of it would flow the realiza- 
tion of Calvin's constant hope — a great Protestant league 
on the basis of that agreement. In view of these facts, 


which cannot be denied, it is preposterous to say that 
Calvin had left his own view of the sacrament out of the 
Consensus. For, of course, if he thus yielded everything 
to the Zwing'lians, what hope would have remained of his 
satisfying, by any such statement, the Lutheran expecta- 
tions ? It is manifest, of course, that, having Lutherans, 
as Avell as Zwinglians to convince, he could not have 
failed to insert something considerable touching the pres- 
ence of the body and blood in the sacrament. But I have 
further proof of this to offer. In the midst of all the 
bright hopes that a great Protestant union was about to 
take place, Joachim Westphal, minister of the Lutherans 
at Hamburg, a man unequal to the discussion of such a 
question, but scurrilous and virulent, attacks the Con- 
sensus, and, amongst other points, makes this very one 
that Calvin had abandoned his o\vn opinions. For rea- 
sons which I have not time to detail, Calvin thought best 
to stoop so far as to reply to this man, and publishes his 
"exposition" of the agreement. And here he shows, in 
forcible terms, how and where the Consensus did set forth 
clearly, though mildly, his peculiar views. 

Second in the class of Confessions accepted by both 
Zwinglians and Calvinists, Dr. Hodge has put the Heidel- 
berg Catechism. He might, with just as good reason pre- 
cisely, have put the Gallic, Scotch, and Belgic Confes- 
sions, which he calls strictly Calvinistic, for they are no 
stronger than it is in declaring Calvin's view. The 
truth is, as is evidenced in the Consensus Tigurinus, that 
there was a substantial harmony between Calvin and the 
Swiss, notwithstanding their differences. Calvin would 
have had little trouble, if what he aimed at had been to 
unite Avith himself merely the Zurich brethren. But his 
great idea was a grand union of all the Protestants, and 
the difficulty was to bring the extremes to meet. He stood 
in the true scripture middle with his doctrine of the real, 
spiritual communion, while Luther had gone to one ex- 
treme and Zwingle to the other. But Zwingle is dead. 
Most of the Swiss (see Henry. IT., p. 70) have already 
adopted Calvin's higher views, if, indeed, Zwingle did not 
himself forsake his own lower ones. Out of regard to 
Zwingle, however, they do not openly confess the change 


as yet. There is no proof, however, that Biilliu<;cr wa?? 
what Dr. llodge represents (page 242), '^tlie great oppo- 
nent of what was considered peculiar in Calvin's views." 

ISTow, the history of the Heidelberg Catechism may be 
given thus: Frederick III., the elector of the Palatinate, 
after a very violent disturbance in his kingdom, created 
by one Tilemann Heshuss, a lAitheran, whom Calvin had 
severely castigated, had this catechism drawn up by Cas- 
per Olevian, a disciple of Calvin, and Ursinus,a friend of 
Melanchthon, the object being to state the moderate Cal- 
vinistic view of the real presence, as against the Lutheran 
extreme. There was no question raised in all tlu^ agita- 
tions and conflicts which gave rise to this venerable sym- 
bol, concerning the reality of Christ's presence in the 
supper, but only concerning the mode. Was it by the 
mouth that Christ was received in the supper, or was it by 
faith ? Heshuss is so violent that Frederick, who suc- 
ceeded to the electorate in the midst of his fierce denuncia- 
tions, not only dismisses him from office, but determines 
to establish a rule of faith on this question for his sub- 
jects, lie consults Melanclithon, who condemns Jleshnss, 
Luther being now dead and gone, and Frederick decides 
for the mild or Calvinistic view, and resolves to have the 
Palatinate become Reformed. 

In these circumstances, he causes the persons named 
above to draw up the celebrated formulary, which, being- 
adopted by a synod at Heidelberg, in 1563, and pub- 
lished as a confessional standard, has been translated into 
all modern tongues, honored with countless commentaries, 
and exalted, by general consent, to the highest authority 
for the whole Reformed church {Nerin's Mij.sf. Pies., 
page 83). 

]Srow, this famous symbol is perfectly clear in ex- 
pressing the peculiar doctrine of Calvin. It says Christ 
''feeds and nourishes my soul to everlasting life with his 
crucified body and shed blood, as assuredly as I receive 
from the minister, and taste with my mouth, the bread 
and cup of the Lord as certain signs of the body and blood 
of Christ." And it says, ''To eat the crucified body and 
drink the shed blood of Christ is not only to embrace 
with a believing heart all the sufferings and death of 


Christ, and thereby to obtain the pardon of sin and life 
eternal ; bnt also, besides that, to become more and more 
nnited to his sacred body by the Holy Ghost, who dwells 
both in Christ and in ns, so that we, though Christ is in 
heaven and we on earth, are, notwithstanding, 'flesh of his 
flesh and bone of his bone,' and that we live and are gov- 
erned forever by one Spirit, as members of the same body 
are by one soul." Also that we are, through the Spirit, 
as ''really partakers of his true body and blood," as we 
receive the signs by the mouth. Ur sinus also wrote a 
commentary on this symbol, in which he expresses in the 
strongest terms Calvin's peculiar doctrine, which we again 
call peculiar, inasmuch as it separates him from the Luth- 
eran, and what is popularly called the Zwinglian doctrine. 

liow, this Heidelberg Catechism is the symbol of the 
German Reformed Church, and has received also the en- 
dorsement of the Eeformed Dutch Church, being solemnly 
approved by the Synod of Dort, in 1618. It is just an- 
other Calvinistic symbol, though Dr. Hodge chooses to 
represent it as one of those where Zwinglians and Cal- 
vin ists met. 

Third and last in this class comes the second Helvetic, 
drawn up by Bullinger after Calvin's death, in 1562, but 
not of public authority till 1566. The Elector, Frederick 
III., anxious to meet the extreme intolerance of the Luth- 
erans at this time against all the Reformed, but him and 
his subjects particularly, and desirous to make, at the 
imperial diet, which was at hand, as fair a showing as he 
could for the side he has espoused, writes to Bullinger for 
some such statement as might serve to repress the cavils of 
the Lutherans. Bullinger sent to him this formulary, 
which, to give it more authority, was subjected to the 
other Helvetic, or Swiss churches, and being generally 
approved, it comes to be kno^^^l as the proper Swiss Con- 
fession. jSTow, as Bullinger wrote this symbol. Dr. Hodge 
says, of course, we must expect to find in it nothing but 
what the Zurich ministers could cordially adopt, seeing 
that Bullinger was Zwingle's successor at Zurich, and the 
"great opponent of Calvin's peculiar view!" (Pages 242 
and 250.) 

Referring, tlieii, to the second Helvetic, we find it full 


and clear in the statement of Calvin's peculiar doctrin(\ 
albeit written, as Dr. Hodge says, by the chief opponent 
of it ! It says, "Believers receive what is given by the 
minister of the Lord, and eat the Lord's bread and. drink 
of the Lord's cnp ; inwardly, however, in the meantime, 
by the work of Christ, throngh the Holy Spirit, they 
partake also of the Lord's flesh and blood, and are fed by 
these unto eternal life. For the flesh and blood of Christ 
are true meat and drink unto eternal life, and Christ 
himself, as delivered up for us and our salvation, is that 
which mainly makes the supper," etc. It proceeds to ex- 
plain what it calls spiritual manducation, which is not 
*'of a merely imaginary, undefinable food, but the body 
of the Lord itself delivered up for us, which, however, is 
received bv believers, not corporally, but spiritually by 

I have gone far enough with Dr. Hodge, and the re- 
marks which he offers on all these various Confessions 
are, in my judgment, so confused and erroneous that I 
pass them over in silence, except to say, merely, that what- 
ever objections he makes to Calvin's doctrine, he never 
once signifies that it is not possible to be understood, or 
that he does not understand it. And thus I set him over 
against Dr. Cunningham on this point, and flatter myself 
that I can knock down the Scotch theologian with his 
American brother. I may also refer to Schleierraacher, 
confessedly a great master of ratiocination, as professing 
that he saw nothing absurd in the Calvinistic theory. I 
may refer to another great master of it — Dr. R. J. Breck- 
inridge — as testifying strongly (Subjective Theology, pp. 
nOG, 007) to the consistency and scripturalness of the 
same doctrine. I may also speak of the celebrated Walter 
Marshall, one of the Puritan ministers ejected in 1662 
for non-conforming, whose treatise on "The Gospel Mys- 
tery of Sanctification" was so strongly recommended by 
the Erskines and by Adam Gib, and is so highly esteemed 
amongst Calvinists, as setting forth, in the fullest and 
strongest manner, this same doctrine of the Lord's supper. 

I can also give my personal testimony to Dr. Thorn- 
well's having averred that he agreed with Calvin's doc- 
trine of the Lord's supper. 


So, too, one shall find, in various portions of John 
Owen's works, that prince of theologians, very clear and 
forcible statements of the doctrine taught by Calvin. (See 
his Sacramental Discourses, 10, 23, 25.) 

And I can refer, on the other hand, to passages in the 
works of modern theologians, of more or less repute, for 
soundness in the faith, who have evidently fallen away 
very much from the Reformed doctrine of the Lord's sup- 
per — as Edwards, Ridgley, Hopkins, Bellamy, Dwiglit, 
Ashbel Green, Dick, and Barnes. The tendencies of the 
age, especially in [ISTew England, are rationalistic, and 
even Presbyterians are often too much inclined to suffer 
a disparagement of the supernatural. 

Becurring, however, to the facts brought to view in this 
chapter, the reader perceives that, whereas Luther, on the 
one hand, and Zwingle on the other, were wide apart, and 
the former especially obstinate and virulent, as well as 
extreme, yet the successors of Zwingle were never far 
apart from Calvin ; and that, accordingly, the first Hel- 
vetic Confession itself (which Dr. Hodge counts as anti- 
Calvinist, that is, Zwinglian) uses language which contra- 
dicts his representation of it, while the Gallic, Scotch, 
and Belgic Confessions, the Consensus Tigurinus, the 
Heidelberg Catechism, and the second Helvetic Confes- 
sion — all of them — are decidedly Calvinistic in their ut- 
terances. And he will not forget that the great Genevese 
reformer (great because humble) only undertakes to set 
before us, what he does not claim to comprehend, the sub- 
lime mystery revealed in the word of God. It seems to 
follow that, in accepting his views, we are not only follow- 
ing in the footsteps of the flock, not only accepting the 
creed of the Beformed churches — which we believe to be 
right and true on so many other points where other 
churches w^ander — but we shall be accepting, also, the very 
word of God upon the ineffable mystery of the union of 
the Head and the members. Calvin insists on nothing 
whatever except the sublime truth of life for us in the 
incarnation. There is life, of course, in the God absolute; 
it is infinite and superabounding and everlasting, but not 
for us. We are creatures, and cannot get access to it ; we 
are sinners, and it is impossible for us to receive it, if we 


could come near to it. And so that life of the absolute 
God is to us as though it were not ; nay, it is against our 
life, and dooms us to death forever. But the incarnation 
is a wondrous divine plan, which procures for us justifica- 
tion, and a share in the life of God's own Son. But the 
life which it procures is inseparable from itself. Not 
God's Son, as such, gives it to us, but God's Son as he is in 
human flesh. He is not only our representative Head, 
but we are likewise vitally one with him. He partakes of 
our flesh, and we partake of his Spirit. His humanity is 
the connecting link between his Godhead and our man- 
hood. The flesh of Christ is a reservoir, full of life, con- 
stantly drawn upon by all his people through the Holy 
Spirit, and by faith, which unites us to the Saviour ; and 
this reservoir is itself constantly replenished from the 
everlasting spring-head. 

Now, then, Calvin's doctrine of the Lord's supper sim- 
ply is, that it holds forth and seals to us this most blessed 
truth. Does the reader see any heresy here ? Does he see 
any absurdity ? Does he see anything he cannot or ought 
not to accept ? Our Reformed fathers in France, in Hol- 
land, in Scotland, in Switzerland, in Germany, accepted 
it. They were not tinctured in the slightest degree with 
the rationalism of this age, and they accepted it, as they 
perceived it in the word. The whole Reformation, except- 
ing only the Lutherans (and not excepting all of them 
either, for Melanchthon believed with (^alvin) — the wlioh' 
Reformation, excepting Luther and his especial followers, 
accepted the same doctrine with Calvin, and we may 
safely do the same. 


Reminiscences of the Wak Between the States. 

THE General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of 
the United States of America, which met at Roch- 
ester, N. Y., was no sooner dissolved than I accepted, 
with my wife, an invitation to revisit Dr. Robert J. Breck- 
inridge, at his country-seat of Breadalbane, some ten or a 
dozen miles from Lexington, Ky. The prospective seces- 
sion of South Carolina would, of course, come up in our 
conversations. "So South Carolina is going to secede," 
he said to me. I said, "It seems to be pretty well as- 
sured." He then said, ''And what stand do you think 
Kentucky will take ?" My reply was, "I would rather 
hear your opinion." He answered, "She will stand by 
South Carolina." I laid my hand on his knee, and said, 
"I am thankful to hear you say that." But Kentucky did 
not assume that attitude, and when, subsequently, I re- 
minded him of what he had said, his reply was, "Oh ! I 
did not expect Kentucky would allow herself to be drag- 
ged at the tail of South Carolina." Either I had mis- 
understood what he said, or else he had changed his 
ground. I still possess a letter from him, which proved 
to be a literal ])rophecy in extenso of the results of the 

The election of a sectional president was what actually 
determined secession of the South. That converted many 
most earnest opponents. Other multitudes had not fa- 
vored it, but held their first allegiance due to the State, 
and not to the Union. In this way. South Carolina be- 
came practically a unit. Indeed, Woodrow Wilson, speak- 
ing of the whole South, says that she "had avowedly 
staked everything, even her allegiance to the Union, upon 
this election. She knew that the party, which was hotly 
intolerant of the whole body of Southern institutions and 
interests, had triumphed in the elections, and was about 
to take possession of the government, and that it was 


niorallv impossible to preserve the Union any longer. 'If 
yon wlio represent the stronger ])ortion/ (Jalhomi had 
said in 1850, in words which perfectly convey this feeling 
in their quiet cadences, 'cannot agree to settle the great 
questions at issue on the broad principle of justice and 
duty, say so ; and let the States we both represent agree 
to separate, and depart in peace.' " The South had long, 
but vainly, waited for the North's acceptance of this 
celebrated and most just proposal. 

When news came that Lincoln was elected, therefore, 
the South Carolina Legislature called a State convention. 
This convention met in Charleston on the 20th of Decem- 
ber, and passed, unanimously, the ordinance of secession, 
and made provision for the government of the State as a 
sej^arate sovereignty, and for such exigencies of defence 
as might arise in case of war. By the first of February, 
Georgia and four of the Gulf States — Florida, Alabama, 
Mississippi, and Louisiana — had followed South Caro- 
lina, and seceded from the TTuiou ; and Texas Avas on the 
point of joining them. 

Delegates, appointed by the several conventions in the 
seceding States, met in Montgomery, Ala., on the 4th of 
February, 1861, framed a provisional constitution and 
government for the "Confederate States of America," 
chose flefferson Davis, of Mississippi, provisional Presi- 
dent, and Alexander H. Stephens, of Georgia, provisional 
Vice-President. In March, a permanent constitution was 
adopted, to take effect the next year. 

While the South thus showed herself in earnest, the 
country at large seemed to be bewildered. The adminis- 
tration was paralyzed. The States of the Xorth, as Wood- 
row Wilson well expresses it, ''had not awakened to the 
national idea. The Federal authorities did nothing. Al- 
most everywhere, in the North and West, the people were 
strangely lethargic, singularly disposed to wait and see 
the trouble Idow over." The masses had not been watch- 
ing the progress of public affairs, and when the great 
crisis came, it took them by surprise. Probably neither 
side expected an actual conflict of arms, and even in the 
South many did not look for a permanent dissolution of 
the Union. Some believed that if war came it would not 


last three months. It was said that C^olonel Chesniit, 
ex-member of Congress, held that it would all be arranged, 
and that he even offered to drink all the blood that was 
q;oing to be shed. 

Shortly after the eventful 20th of December, the people 
of Charleston awakened one morning to the startling news 
that jMajor Anderson, who commanded the United States 
garrison at Fort Moultrie, had transferred his company to 
the much stronger fortress of Sumter. There was great 
significance in the move, for, no doubt, orders had come 
to him to this effect from Washington. The United States 
flag floated for a long time j)eacefully there. But, to 
many an eye in the city, and to many a heart in the State, 
it seemed to say that South Carolina was not yet out of 
the Union. President Buchanan was known to be a weak 
man, but he had always seemed favorable to the South. 
He held, as did also his Attorney-General, that there was 
no constitutional means or warrant for coercing a State 
to do her duty under the law. When Southern members 
retired from his Cabinet, naturally they were rej)laced by 
men of the l^orth. xVfter some time Messrs. James L. 
Orr and Robert W. Barnwell were sent on as commission- 
ers to treat with President Buchanan as to the transfer of 
the national property lying within the State, and espe- 
cially as to the cession to South Carolina of the forts 
within her harbor. They presented themselves before 
the President, and he professed to be willing to give them 
official recognition, and accordingly so promised. But 
this promise was not to be fulfilled. As often as the 
South Carolina commissioners waited on the President 
to have his promises fulfilled, he would put them off, ou 
one pretext or another. Meanwhile, as was believed in 
South Carolina, the Federal government was gaining 
time for the sending of a fleet to Charleston. The 
South C^arolina commissioners continued to call on the 
President and demand to be recognized, and whenever he 
would try to put them off, Mr. Barnwell would say, ^'But, 
Mr. President, you have promised." This he could not 
deny, but he dared not fulfil it. On one occasion, when 
this accustomed solitary reminder saluted the presiden- 
tial ear, the old man lost his patience, and burst forth, 


"But, Mr. Barnwell, you don't give me time to say my 
prayers." Still the commissioners were kept waiting, 
find still they got no recogTiition. The new President was 
inaugurated ; and now Seward, who became Secretary of 
State, kept other commissioners, who had been appointed 
by the Confederate government, still waiting for his de- 
cision, unofficially holding out hopes of concession 
through Justice Campbell of the Supreme Court, who 
wished, if possible, to mediate in the interest of peace. 
On April Sth, while they waited, formal notice was sent 
from the Federal authorities, not through these commis- 
sioners, but directly to Governor Pickens, of South Caro- 
lina, that the Federal garrison in Fort Sumter would be 
succored and provisioned. The commissioners, as I re- 
member the facts, then, of course, returned unrecognized, 
and the Confederate government at Montgomery, in- 
formed of the coming of this fleet, ordered Beauregard to 
attack the fort without delay. 

The fleet made no attempt to enter the harbor and 
reach the fort. Such was not the purpose for which it 
was sent. The administration was not prepared to com- 
mence hostilities. The astute Secretary's plan simply 
was, by the appearance of this fleet outside the harbor, 
to provoke the South to strike the first blow by firing on 
the flag. 

The first gun was fired at Sumter from Fort Moultrie 
on the 12th of April by Edmund Puffin, Esq., an eminent 
Virginia statesman. Hot shot from Fort Moultrie set on 
fire the internal wood-work of the fort. The United 
States flag was lowered. Seward had gained his object. 
He had fired the I^orthern heart. President Lincoln im- 
mediately called for seventy-five thousand volunteers. 
The war was begun. 

The Bombardment of Chaeleston. 
It is not my purpose to attempt a history of the war. I 
am only to speak of events which passed more or less di- 
rectlv under my personal observation. Charleston, which 
witnessed the actual beginning of the war, was never cap- 
tured. The city was long blockaded, and for two years 
or more was shelled from Morris Island and other points. 


The Federal artillery reduced Fort Sumter to a heap of 
ruins, but ruined as it was, the Confederates, under the 
gallant Major Elliott, held it to the last. Working by 
day and by night, new fortifications were constructed out 
of the debri?, and the ruined fort, wonderful to relate, was 
rendered impregnable. The garrison was, of course, re- 
cruited continually from the city. ISTegro laborers were 
sent down, and calls were made also on the country dis- 
tricts for help at this fort, and to strengthen the other 

I was required to furnish two hands to assist in this 
heavy work. I selected, from my slaves, Ben, surnamed 
Collins, an active and vigorous young negro, and put with 
him an elderly man, Daniel, who rejoiced in the surname 
of Castlebury. The former, with the enthusiasm of 
youth, was delighted with my selection, and rendered, I 
have no doubt, very excellent service. Their lot was to 
be sent to Fort Sumter. These men were both sent back 
to me after awhile, and they both had accounts to tell 
which greatly interested us all, white and black. Daniel, 
especially, told how the large space surrounding the 
ruined walls, which was covered over with brick-bats, had 
strong spikes of iron driven down amongst them, to sus- 
tain wires stretched from one to the other, these being 
intended to trip up the enemy, should they land in the 
night time to scale the low walls. Parties, chiefly of 
negroes, Avere sent out from the fort to work amongst these 
wires. Sometimes the alarm would be given that the 
boats of the enemy were approaching, and these laborers 
would have to retreat within the walls, and old Dan would 
stumble over these wires in his flight. But the most as- 
tonishing thing to us all, which Daniel reported, was 
what he called the "sugary freeze." That puzzled us for 
awhile, but, when he explained that it had many long pro- 
jecting points, we were able to understand that he was 
describing the cheveaux de frise. 

But a second time I was called on for the same amount 
of help, and I thought best to send the same two, because 
the experience they had acquired might enable them best 
to take care of themselves. Ben Collins made no objec- 
tion, he rather liked the excitement, but Daniel wished for 


a substitute. He said he was willing to go, however, if I 
would promise that he would not be sent to Fort Sumter. 
He never wanted to see that place again. I explained my 
lack of power, telling him that they might have to call on 
me to go there, and I must submit. So down they went, 
and, lo ! Daniel was appointed nowhere but to hated Fort 
Sumter, while Ben was sent to Fort Johnson. But when 
the sloop, which conveyed the relay of hands, arrived at 
Sumter, old Dan was nowhere to be found. Had he fallen 
overboard to become a prey to sharks, or had he run away 
before the sloop started ? There was a lot of scaiitling 
and boards in the hold of the vessel, and there Dan had 
secreted himself. But he passed unhurt through his sec- 
ond service in the dangerous fort, and reached home in 
safety, while Ben, poor fellow, happening one day to be 
on the parapet of Fort Johnson, was struck on the arm 
with the fragment of a shell, and amputation was made 
necessary. One-armed Ben, as they afterwards called 
him, wdien emancipation came, took himself to Columbia, 
and I found him there years afterwards, married and sup- 
porting himself and family by circulating through the 
city with a little hand-cart of vegetables, which he sold 
to families not convenient to the market-place. One sum- 
mer he paid me a visit at my home, and cheerfully said 
he could do as much work with his one arm, cutting wood 
or mauling rails, as any other man. 

Where the Ashley and the Cooper discharge their 
waters into the ocean, they had produced a formidable 
bar, now happily removed, which prevented the entrance 
of very large vessels, and the fleet made no attempt to 
enter the harbor, for its smaller vessels dared not en- 
counter the numerous torpedoes with which the channel 
was filled. The bombardment of the city was very much 
dreaded before it began, notwithstanding Beauregard's 
assurance that it never could produce much visible effect. 
But, naturally enough, the lower part of the city was, for 
the most part, forsaken by its inhabitants. St. Michael's 
steeple was a favorite target for the artillerist, the more 
because it was known that members of the signal corps 
occupied it night and day. My nephew, Augustine T. 
Smythe, was up there many a night, doing signal duty, 


and shells sometimes passed near hj, but I think the 
steeple was never struck. What Beauregard had told us 
came true ; the city was but little hurt by the bombard- 
ment, and but few persons were killed or wounded. When 
Sherman left Savannah on his way to Columbia, Charles- 
ton was, of course, evacuated. Since the two years' bom- 
bardment, she has had other visitations more grievous 
than this, among them cyclone and earthquake, but the 
historic city still survives and flourishes. 

Soon after the war began, Columbia Theological Sem- 
inary was necessarily closed, nearly or quite all the stu- 
dents having taken their departure to go to the army, and 
I moved my family to my home in Pendleton. 

When the bombardment began, I repaired to Charles- 
ton, packed up my brother James's large and valuable 
library, his house being in a very exposed situation, car- 
ried it to Columbia and placed it for safe-keeping in the 
basement of the central building of the Theological Sem- 
inary. The furniture of that dwelling house, and of my 
brother Robert's, had previously been conveyed to Colum- 
bia, and stored in a warehouse, belonging to my Aunt 
iSTancy Law, of that city. 

When, owing to the unfortunate removal by President 
Davis of General Joe Johnston from the command of our 
Western army, it failed to overthrow and rout Sherman 
at Atlanta, as had been confidently expected, and Avhen, 
accordingly, his unobstructed march through Georgia was 
bringing him down to Savannah, I went again to Colum- 
bia, and moved my own large and valuable library in 
boxes to my aunt's warehouse, and then carried the most 
of my furniture to the same place. A variety of other 
matters in my house at the old Bank, in Main street, 
which I thought would be convenient and needful for our 
use at Pendleton, I got ready to ship by railroad across 
Broad river. But a tremendous freshet occurred, and 
tore away some portions of the bridge. This detained me 
for some days in Columbia. 

In the meanwhile an incident occurred significant both 
of the extreme pressure of those times, as it affected all 
classes of our people, and also of the high-born dignity 
with which many Carolina families were able to meet it. 


One of onr citizens, the head of an old Huguenot family, 
was president of a bank, which had been forced to remove 
its treasures and its business from Charleston to Colum- 
bia. He asked me to come around and spend the evening 
at his house. The war had consumed most of our luxuries 
of civilized life, amongst them coifee. Many were the 
substitutes for it we were forced to employ. A favorite 
one was the seed of the okra plant. Another was roasted 
cotton seed. Still another was sweet potatoes, cut up, 
dried, and then parched, and there were a variety of 
others, each one having its own particular admirers. At 
supper there sat two ladies, with my host and myself, and 
in the centre of the table appeared one solitary dish. Our 
conversation went briskly on. Without the slightest 
apology, or any reference whatever to the meagerness of 
the diet, I was courteously invited to partake. It proved 
to be brown bread, the brownest I had ever beheld in all 
my life ; but, to all appearance, the whole company found 
it very good. Whilst enjoying this delicacy,! was asked if 
I would take cotton-seed coffee, to which I gave assent. It 
was my first introduction to that substitute, but I found 
it very refreshing, though, if I remember rightly, there 
was neither sugar nor cream. We united at the close of 
the repast in expressing thanks to the kind providence 
which had once more furnished us with food. 

Before I left home on this trip to Columbia, having a 
very valuable pair of carriage horses, and knowing how 
great would be the danger of their being taken from me, 
I had determined to sell them. At the opening of the 
war I had given three fine horses to fit up a cavalry 
company at Columbia, but this pair of horses were un- 
suited to cavalry use from their size and weight. Rufus 
Johnston, president of a bank in Columbia, had offered 
me $7,000 Confederate money for them, and I had a 
debt to pay, for which I required the money. The horses 
had cost me $800, in good money. My carriage driver, 
Alfred, was a very competent young negro slave, of great 
intelligence. I had entire confidence in his faithfulness 
and honesty, as well as capacity. I wrote to Mr. Johnston 
to accept his oft'er, and dispatched Alfred, with the horses, 
to Columbia. There were great and various dangers on 


his way, but he piloted his charge safely through them all, 
delivered them to my correspondent, and returned safely 
home without delay. This will illustrate the relations 
subsisting between master and slave amongst us, and also 
that between valuable property and our currency at this 

Before leaving Columbia to return home, being aware 
of the treatment South Carolina and Columbia might ex- 
pect to receive from General Tecumseh Sherman, I ac- 
cepted an offer from a Jewish gentleman, of the name of 
Jacobs, of $30,000 for my dwelling house, from which I 
had just removed all the furniture. It was Confederate 
money. I took it right over to the proper office, and gave 
it for Confederate bonds. I cannot recall to mind, though 
I have often tried to do so, what disposition I then made 
of the bonds. They vanished alike from my possession 
and recollection. The house for which I got these bonds 
was built of brick, three stories high, four large rooms on 
a floor, standing on the main street, with a large lot of 
land in the rear, with all necessary outbuildings. It had 
been built for one of the city banks, and was long so em- 
ployed. When I became professor in the Theological 
Seminary in 185Y, I purchased it for $7,000 cash. Here 
is an illustration of the value of real estate in a flourish- 
ing city, in the anticipation of a visit by a brutal general, 
at the head of an army thirsting for booty. We were well 
aware of what he had allowed to be done in his progress 
through Georgia, but we had also heard of the threats he 
had made against the people of South Carolina, and 
against their capital. 

I now forwarded to Alston, by railroad, the matters I 
had selected from my house to go to Pendleton. There I 
had to get a boat to carry them past the broken bridge over 
the river. Once on the other side, I was able to transport 
them by railroad to my home in Pendleton. 

]^ot long after this, Sherman reached the borders of 
South Carolina, and then it was that he began, especially, 
to teach the people, as he said, ''what war means." They 
had desired war, and he would give it to them. His track 
was marked all along through this State by the standing 
chimneys of burnt dwelling houses. Such chimneys were 


the moniinients lie erected for hiniself in South Carolina. 
His war, as he went along, was against women and chil- 
dren. On the 17th of February his army reached Colum- 
bia. I leave it to others to describe, in general, the hor- 
rors that ensued. I shall speak only of what I learned 
from my aunt, Mrs. Law, and her sister, who was living 
with her. Like other ladies who needed protection, she 
had obtained a guard of two or three soldiers. They had 
appeared civil all the day, and treated her respectfully. 
But when night came, and the three rocket signals went 
up, the pandemonium, which broke loose, came to her 
house, and her guards then joined with their drunken 
fellows. They all went up stairs together, beginning, she 
said, at the third story, with their work of robbing and 
setting fire, and so coming down through the second to the 
lower story, and then they said to her, ''Old woman, if you 
don't want to be burnt up, you had better get out of this 
house." She essayed to go, where her sister had preceded 
her, with her daughter and a young babe, to the house of 
Alexander Haskell, on the top of Arsenal Hill, which was 
not far from her own burning dwelling. But the streets 
were full of soldiers, many of them drunk, and the houses 
all on fire. She had been subject to vertigo, and was some 
three-score and ten years old. She told me that, as she 
staggered along by herself, she was afraid that she might 
fall beneath some of the spreading flames. But she 
reached the Haskell house in safety, and found it full of 
women and children. Her sister told me she saw the 
soldiers throwing balls of some material saturated with 
turpentine, and set on fire, into the warehouse or maga- 
zine, which had been filled full Avith what we had stored 
there. Where my aunt passed the next day and night she 
could not herself tell, and it was only on the second or 
the third day that some friends found her wandering 
through her old ruined garden, and she was, by them, re- 
moved to rooms in the Seminary building, which had been 
vacated. In the good providence of God, it was so ordered 
that, in poverty and suffering, she was to find a refuge in 
Law Hall, a three-story brick building, of many apart- 
ments, wdiicli had been erected on the Seminary grounds, 
with money generously given by herself, and it was there. 


after a short time, her long and useful life came to an 

Fort Sumter surrendered to Beauregard on the 13th of 
April, 1861. Our Theological Seminary at Columbia 
closed early in the next month. I ministered, during my 
summer vacation, to the little Mt. Zion congregation, wor- 
shipping about two miles from my house, in the old 
church building where I first met the South Carolina 
Presbytery, in 1852, while looking for a home in the 
Piedmont country. One of my first ofiicial acts in that 
congregation was to bury, in their cemetery, two young 
soldiers, members of that church. They belonged to the 
Fourth South Carolina Regiment, commanded, in the 
first Mannassas battle, by Colonel J. B. E. Sloan, of Pen- 
dleton. The regiment had their position in the thick of 
that fight, near to Jackson's Virginians. It was to them 
General Bee, originally himself of Pendleton, and who 
also fell in the same battle, had addressed his famous ex- 
hortation, which gave a sobriquet to Jackson, "South 
Carolinians, be firm ; don't you see how Jackson's men, 
right there, are standing like a stone wall ?" The South 
Carolina regiment stood firm, but, after the battle, these 
two Pendleton young men lost their lives. They were 

cousins, ^Michael Bollotte and Hillhouse. They were 

walking together over the bloody field, and, seeing a com- 
rade of theirs, named Lewis, examining a spent ball, 
which he had picked up, they, in their thoughtless curi- 
osity, went up to examine the same. When they were all 
satisfied, Lewis let the ball drop at their feet. It ex- 
ploded, and the two cousins were killed on the spot. 

The Rev. Dr. Thomas L. McBryde, pastor of the Pen- 
dleton Presbyterian Church, died on the 15th of April, 
1863. I had assisted him frequently before his death, 
and after it ministered to his people till the close of the 
war. I had many occasions for encouraging their hearts 
during its progress, and giving them consolation in the 
bereavements it occasioned. 

Pendleton and its neighborhood furnished a good many 
soldiers. Amongst those who never returned there were 
Captain Warren and Major Wright, both of Camden, 
whose wives were the daughters of Mr. Robert Maxwell. 


There was Edward Maxwell, whose father I have named, 
who had just graduated at the South Caroliua College. 
Ezekiel Pickens, who, though he never got to the war, 
died, on his way thither, at Richmond. There Avas also 
]\rajor Kilpatrick, whose body, with that of young 
Pickens, I committed to their tombs in the old historic 
Stone Church Cemetery. There were also Tally Simpson, 
Willie Seaborn, Julius Ross, Earl Lewis, Laurens and 
Ben Smith, two brothers, and, perhaps, others, Avho all 
fell in battle. Besides those who never returned, Pendle- 
ton and its neighborhood sent at least thirty others, some 
of whom returned quite unhurt, others had been wounded 
more or less severely, and yet others had suffered impris- 
onment for a longer or shorter period. 

But there was one man who went from Pendleton to the 
war and never returned whose case was specially pitiful. 
His name was John Hix. He was my overseer for some 
years, but when, in 1858, I sold Woodburn to my brother 
Ellison, and moved to Boscobel, this man continued to 
be the overseer for my brother-. He had a wife and a 
number of children, besides Billy, a sister's son, whom he 
had adopted. He was a good man, a Baptist, and he 
sometimes preached in their Lebanon church. His family 
would be helpless without him, and he did not volunteer. 
As the war went on he was drafted, and he was very un- 
willing to go. He told me that he knew he would be 
killed in the very first battle. But he went in May, 1863, 
and his company passed through Charlotte, IST. C, whilst 
I was in attendance upon our General Assembly at that 
place. I was the guest of Judge Osborn, and poor John 
Hix called to see me. He told me he knew he was going 
to his death. Judge Osborn invited the soldier to remain, 
and take supper with us. After supper he went on his 
way with his comrades. A battle took place as soon as 
he got to the army. John Hix was in it, and a cruel can- 
non ball tore away his whole stomach, and the soldier fell 
dead. How dreadful is war ! We helped his family all 
we could, and I met Billy some years after the war, and 
he was doing well. But the family drifted out of our 

1 must also here add another affecting story, told me 


by my friend, Pierson, one of the ministers of South Car- 
olina Presbytery, who became a chaplain in our army, 
when Johnston was retreating before Sherman. He 
found himself at some place below the city of Atlanta, 
where a train of cars was expected full of Avounded sol- 
diers. With a number of others, bent on the like errand, 
he was ready, with a bucket of water and a cup to give it, 
filled with cold water, to these suffering men. He entered 
a box-car. Wounded soldiers were strung all around 
against its sides. He began to administer the cooling 
draught, when one of them said, "We want the water, but 
there is a boy there in the extreme corner, who, we think, 
is dying ; won't you go first and speak to him ?" Mr. 
Pierson says, "He was dreadfully wounded, and hardly 
conscious, for to my first questions he made no answer. 
Anxious to find out who the parents of this dying young 
soldier were, that I might write to them, I then asked 
him, 'What is your father's name ?' He answered, 'I am 
my father's precious jewel.' Then I asked, 'Who is your 
mother V He said, 'I am my mother's darling boy.' I 
said, 'Where does your father live V He began, 'Our Fa- 
ther, which art in heaven,' and slowly, but clearly, re- 
peating the whole of the Lord's Prayer to the end, and 
saying, 'Amen,' he breathed his last, and I saw he was 
gone." The chaplain told me he would give everything he 
had in the world to have known that boy's name, and 
where his home was. ^one of the soldiers were able to 
tell him. 

When President Davis and his Cabinet found it neces- 
sary to quit Richmond, their course carried them through 
the Piedmont portion of South Carolina, but they did 
not come by Pendleton. One night they lodged at Abbe- 
ville with my friend, Mr. Thomas C. Perrin, in that 
spacious and magnificent mansion which was shortly 
afterwards destroj'ed by fire. In the convention which 
passed the ordinance of secession, the delegates were 
called on to sign for their districts in alphabetical order, 
and so Mr. Perrin, representing Abbeville, signed first of 
all the secessionists, not only of South Carolina, but of 
the whole South. It is something of a coincidence that, 
as he told me himself, they lield their last Cabinet meeting 


in his house, agreeing that they wonhl disperse when they 
left Abbeville. Mr. Benjamin, Secretary of State, who 
afterwards became a very eminent lawyer in London, said 
to Mr. Perrin, after that last meeting broke up, "What 
is the best and safest disposition for me to make of the 
seal of the Confederacy ?" Mr. Perrin replied, "You are 
going to cross the Savannah river to-morrow morning, and 
I would suggest that you consign it to the keeping of that 
river." Mr. Perrin informed me of these facts himself, 
and supposed that the seal had been deposited in the mid- 
dle of that river. But 1 have heard of parties in this 
State or Georgia who claim to have possession of that 

We did not hear, at Pendleton, of the removal of the 
Cabinet from Richmond, until, after a number of days, 
there came through our neighborhood a large number of 
Federal troops, said to be five thousand men, under one 
Colonel Browm. Then we heard that they were in pur- 
suit of President Davis. Kone of these soldiers passed 
through our village. A company of them came to its con- 
fines, and Mr. James Hunter, the intendant of our little 
town, walked out, having a sword by his side, and had a 
conference with their captain. What passed between 
them I never heard, but I believe they had got informa- 
tion that we had a body of troops in our village, and so 
turned off to the left, and moved towards Anderson 
Courthouse, whither the main body had gone. These said 
troops of ours were a small body of very old men, and 
some fifty lads, one of them my son John, about fifteen 
years old, armed with some small and very inferior shot- 
guns. They had been patrolling around Pendleton for 
sometime, searching for deserters, and known as "Home 
Guards," under the command of Captain Jones. How 
they happened to miss the Federals, when passing around 
Pendleton, I cannot tell, but a day or two after this, a 
portion of them had got wind of some soldiers being at 
Mr. Elias Earle's, on the Anderson road, four miles from 
the city. Duff Greene Calhoun, a young fellow of about 
eighteen, Avas leading these boys at the time, and, like 
boys, they took after the Yankees. Happily for these 
young j)atriots, the Yankees heard them coming, or, per- 


haps, saw them tearing down the big road a mile off, and, 
fearing to encounter these invincibles, they fled inconti- 
nently, and our chaps pursued them for a mile. 

After two or three days, there came to my brother 
Robert's house, one mile from mine, a battalion of these 
soldiers, commanded by a major, seeking to find the 
treasure, which our President and Cabinet had left there. 
This story had, no doubt, been told them by some persons 
in Anderson, but there was no truth in it, as I have inti- 
mated already. But the major demanded the treasure, 
and threatened to hang my brother if it was not forth- 
coming. The officer even insisted upon telling him just 
where the money was hidden. There was a place, under 
the open basement of his house, always covered with 
planks, and some negroes in Anderson, who knew my 
brother's house, must have told the major that Jeff. Davis' 
gold was under those boards. My brother had the boards 
lifted, and a hole dug in the ground deep enough to 
satisfy the major that he had been misinformed, and was 
not to secure the coveted prize of the Confederacy's gold 
and silver. He did, however, find and take away with 
him a very magnificent military saddle, which was in 
one of the upper rooms of the house. This saddle had 
been sent from England, by Mr. Prioleau, for General 
Beauregard, and had been committed to my brother's care 
until he could find an opportunity to forward it to the 

While their commanding officer had been making this 
search, some of his men had made the ladies of the family 
give up their watches. The major, being informed of 
this, was considerate enough to have them restored ; but 
no sooner had he and his command moved off, than those 
men slipped back, and once more took possession of their 

While this body of soldiers were at Rivoli, my 
brother's place, seven or eight of them came over to Bos- 
cobel, where I lived. I was lame at the time, and obliged 
to use a crutch. When they came up, I was out at some 
distance from the house, but they saw me, and one came 
over to me. He said, "Are you the owner of this place ?" 
I said, "Yes, are you Yankees ?" He said, "Yes, we are. 


Where are your horses ?" I told him 1 had sent them 
awav. "You sent them away, did you f said he. "Yes," 
said I, "I sent them away, that you might not get hold 
of them." "Well," he said, "you come up to the house, 
and we'll take care of you." We went up to the house 
together, where there were two or three more men, and 
my escort said to them, "He has sent away his horses, so 
that we might not find them." Just as he was speaking, 
I saw that some of his comrades had gone into the house. 
So I immediately turned from the men who were talking 
to me and went in. One of the party, who had first gone 
into the house, demanded my watch. I gave it to him, but 
said, "Does your government send you all through this 
country just to rob private citizens ?" Said he, "Do you 
suppose I would go riding all about here and not take 
anything home to my family ?" I was quite tired with 
my little walk, so I said to him, "Sit down, I want to talk 
to you." "No," said he, "I haven't got time," and he 
started up stairs. The fact was, he did not enjoy my fin- 
gering his conscience. Several ladies of my family were 
near, and he said to them, "Don't be afraid, ladies, we've 
seen ladies before. We only want to get pistols and gold 
watches." But they took whatever jewelry and articles 
of value they found. I followed this man about as well as 
1 could with my crutch, and pretty soon found myself 
walking with him through one side of my wide piazza, 
and do\vn the back steps, where his horse was standing 
hitched. The man started to mount. As he did so, my 
back was turned towards him, and I heard his gun go off. 
Startled at the sound, I turned to look, and saw the man 
I had been talking to falling head foremost from his sad- 
dle, with the blood pouring in a stream from a wound in 
his throat. The sound of his gun made several of the 
others rush to the scene, and two of them raised their 
guns, and were about to shoot. 

My daughter, Mrs. Mullally, was in the piazza, the only 
witness to what had happened. She cried out to them, 
"Tie shot himself." I had not had one particle of fear of 
them from the beginning, and I took command, calling 
out, "Don't you see this man is bleeding to death ? Come 
here, some of you, and lift him up." Three of them 


obeyed. As soon as they raised liim, it was plainly to be 
seen that, as he mounted his horse, his gun was discharged, 
the bullet entering his throat, and coming out at the top 
of his head. Instantly, they dropped his head, and all 
three began promptly to empty his numerous pockets, 
which were full of plunder. I was standing at his head, 
and they were busy at my feet. All kinds of things came 
out of those pockets. I clapped my hands over their 
heads, and said, ''The hand of God is on you, men. Give 
me back my watch." They seemed to be impressed, and 
looked from one to the other to see who had taken the 
watch. It was quietly given back to me. My daughter 
cried out, "Father, they've got my watch, too !" I clapped 
my hands again over their heads, and said, "Give back 
that lady her watch." It, too, was surrendered, and they 
departed, taking with them their comrade's horse, and all 
his other belongings, but showing no feeling or concern 
for him. The man was still living, though unconscious. 
I told them, as they left, that I would bury him when 
dead, and this seemed to convert me into a friend. Then 
they paused and told me the dying man was from Hills- 
dale, Mich., that his name was Alanson Chapman, and 
that he had a brother out on the road with the rest of the 
battalion, who could now be seen not very far off. As my 
visitors were riding off through the gate, two young colts 
in the yard seemed disposed to follow their horses. I 
called after the men, telling them not to let those colts out, 
though I thought it more than likely they would shoot the 
colts and ride off. But they quietly drove them back, and 
also shut the gate. 

Two or three weeks after this, the alarm was given at 
my house that four Yankees were coming up the avenue. 
I left the breakfast table and went out to meet them. 
Two I recognized as of the previous party. One of the 
other two had dismounted, and was standing on the 
ground. Addressing him, I asked, "What do you want ?" 
He said, "We have come to see about that man who was 
hurt ! What did you do with him ?" A look into his eyes 
showed me that he was the brother of the dead man. I 
said to him, "Your brother died that night; would you 
like to see his srave ?" At that moment a servant came 


up with my buggy and a horse I had borrowed from my 
brother, mine having been found in their hiding phice in 
the woods, and carried off by some of their company. I 
got into the buggy, and we all rode down to a beautiful 
little pine thicket, which was used as a burial place by 
the negroes of my plantation. 

I must say, first, that when the raider died, my old 
negro man Charles, the manager of my affairs, seemed 
to foresee, as I did not, that we should have this second 
visit. I had told him to prepare a decent coffin and grave, 
and to gather all the people together in the afternoon, that 
I might go with them down to the grave for religious ser- 
vices — all of which we did. But the old man had also 
made a nice pine head-board and foot-mark ; brought 
them to me, and asked me to put the dead man's name on 
the head-board. I made objections, but he prevailed, and 
I carved and inked — 


Hillsdale, Michigan, 

Died May 5th, 


So we had marked the grave. When the brother looked 
at the inscription, I saw the water come into his eyes, and 
turning to me, he said, ''Sir, you have done all you could 
for my poor brother," and then expressed his hearty 
thanks. 1 told him I could do no less for any man Avho 
died at my door. He then informed me that our Presi- 
dent had been captured by other pursuers, and said that 
he would come back, after awhile, and take away his 
brother's body. As we all came back together, the thought 
would come into my mind that my brother was certainly 
going to lose his horse ; but not so. They left me with 
bows, and went straight to Colonel Sloan's stable, where 
they found no horses. They next went to old Mrs. ISTorth's 
place; met her carriage coming right out of her gate, 
and, taking her horses, left the carriage right in the gate- 
way, and started back to their camp, which was on the 
other side of the river. 

Immediately after their departure, I gladly took the 


horse and buggy, and, with my wife, whose nerves had 
been a good deal shaken, went for a good long drive to 
make some pastoral visits, which occupied me the greater 
part of the day. Returning from my circuit of visitations 
in the afternoon, what should I behold but the four sol- 
diers, now convicted thieves and prisoners. Old Captain 
John Maxwell they had threatened to murder the day 
before, but he had leaped on his blooded mare, old man as 
he was, clearing the fence, where she stood ready sad- 
dled, and escaped. On that occasion, there were other 
soldiers with them, and a major in command. This 
major, pursuing old Captain John and his blooded mare, 
which he must have coveted much, drew his pistol and 
fired, but at that moment, his own horse, throwing up its 
head, received the shot from his rider's pistol and fell. 
'Next day. Captain John, Major Ben Sloan, his nephew, 
and another nephew, met these four men, captured them, 
sent back Mrs. jSTorth's horses, and brought the prisoners, 
and delivered them to the citizens of Pendleton. Some 
young counsellors would have dealt with them in a very 
summary way. Older heads, however, prevailed. The pris- 
oners were sent back that night, under guard of three 
armed men, to be delivered up to their general as horse 
thieves. On the return of these guards, they said their 
prisoners had knelt and begged for their lives in every 
dark place on the road, where the moonliglit did not reach, 
and that they had at last set them loose before they 
reached the camp. It was feared they had otherwise dis- 
posed of them, but my man certainly reached his home 
in safety, for I got a letter from his old father, thanking 
me, and saying he would come for his son's body very 
soon. I advised him that it would not be healthy for him 
to visit us just then. Six months after this a squad of 
soldiers was sent from Anderson for the remains of the 
dead raider. 

In September, 1865, Dr. Howe, Dr. Woodrow, and my- 
self reopened the Seminary, Dr. Thornwell's chair being 
vacant through his lamented death in 1863. 

Previously to going down, I had announced to my 
slaves that they were all free. The coming of emancipa- 
tion had been talked of all through the summer, and they 


had made inquiries about it of myself, and I had told 
them that, whenever it was determined, I should inform 
them of it. It was, perhaps, in August that the action of 
the State of South Carolina had settled the question, and 
I told them all that I could no longer employ them, and 
that they must find homes for themselves. They were 
about thirty in number. One of them, a man named Mor- 
ris, had a wife and a number of children, several of them 
well grown boys. lie alone of the whole number ob- 
jected very much to the terms of their emancipation, 
having this large family to support. In general, they 
received the announcement with indifference. To Morris 
it seemed that the government had treated him very badly, 
in setting him free without '"giving him a start," as he ex- 
pressed it. But he was a sober, faithful and industrious 
man, and his wife an excellent cook, and they soon found 
employment for themselves and their older lioys, so that 
they could live on their wages. The whole company very 
soon scattered, and I lost sight of them all. 

My head man w^as Charles, surnamed Morgan. As I 
shall hereafter show, he was a character. He had a wife 
and one son, and this' son had a wife and two daughters 
eight and ten years old. This son, named Alfred, I have 
previously mentioned as a remarkably intelligent and 
faithful negro. Hearing that wages were high at Mem- 
phis, Tenn., he counselled Avith me about moving there, 
and then did move with his wife and children. His old 
mother chose to go with her son, leaving her husband 
behind. It turned out, I fear, an unfortunate move, for 
a very few years after this a dreadful season of yellow 
fever visited Memphis, and thousands of negroes, as well 
as white people, fell victims. As I never heard of Alfred 
after this event, I am apprehensive that they all perished 
under this scourge. 

"When, in 1847, it became settled that the abolitionists 
of iSTew England would not allow me to return to my for- 
eign missionary work, and that I was to remain in my 
native city, and preach the gospel to the negroes, I became 
at once a householder and a slaveholder, an advisable step 
as regarded both the white people and the black. When, 
in 1852, I moved to Pendleton, and bcoan the life of a 

KE:\rI^fISCENCEs or the war. 347 

farmer for the saving- of my eyesight, I purchased some 
slaves to work the land. Charles Morgan and his family 
were the first whom I bought. Xaturally, having just 
come from the work of a missionary to the negroes in 
Charleston, I felt much interest in the religious condition 
of these people. Accordingly, I used earnest eiforts to 
induce them to attend my family prayers every evening, 
and I also told them they must go to church in the village 
on Sunday. This I considered to be my duty as a Chris- 
tian master. After a Sunday or two, Charles came to me 
and said, '']\Easter, I can obey orders, but I don't want 
you to tell me that I must go to church." And he went 
on to say that he did not believe in religion ; he had seen 
the time, he said, when he had often run miles to hear a 
certain preacher, and this man was afterwards found out 
in his wickedness. He further said that if he only was 
obedient to his earthly master, he had nothing else to be 
afraid of. I saw at once that I was dealing with a man 
who had a head on his shoulders Avith brains in it, but 
having also a heart in him full of unbelief. I said to him 
at once that he had mistaken me, and that he might be 
sure that I did not mean to take a stick to force him to 
pray, or to drive him to church with. Of course, no com- 
pulsory methods can be employed in bringing religion to 
negroes, or to any other men. 

This reminds me of something that occurred at 
Smyrna, Asia Minor. I was intimately acquainted with 
a converted Jew, John Cohen by name. His wife was a 
Greek, who had been educated in Ireland. Talking with 
my friend about his wife, I inquired if she was a praying 
woman. John knew English pretty well, but did not 
always remember the force of some of our idioms. His 
answer was, "Oh ! yes, my wife is a praying woman ; I 
make her pray." 

I had many talks with Charles subsequently. He was 
greatly attached to me personallv, and I considered him 
to be a faithful servant, and so he came to be entrusted 
with all my plantation matters, and through him I gave 
all my orders to the rest. Once in awhile, they would ac- 
cuse him to me, and one gentleman in the village, that 
was smart enough himself in a trade, with whom Charles 


had dealings on my account, Avas known to have said, 
"Why, the old rascal; he cheats for his master." 

I tried to instruct him, and all my people, as to their 
duty to God and their own souls, and, I hope, not without 
some effect. But I have heard from that old negro as 
many and as astute objections to the revealed word as 
any infidel philosopher ever produced ; and it is my firm 
belief that every missionary to the darkest heathen people 
will sometimes meet this experience. These objections, 
whether in Christian or pagan lands, probably never orig- 
inate in the human heart. They are suggestions of the 

I cannot claim that I fully performed my religious 
duty to my slaves, but I tried to do it. I was constantly 
away on Sundays, preaching myself. My wife continu- 
ally assembled both children and grown people on Sunday 
afternoons in our wide piazzas, reading and explaining 
the Scriptures to them, and teaching them to commit to 
memory verses of the Bible, and many of our best hymns, 
and to sing them to such tunes as best suited their musical 
taste. Moreover, my brothers and I employed a faithful, 
earnest minister to preach to them at set times every 
week, and my children taught all of them to read who 
were disposed to learn. 

When Charles's whole family moved away to ^leniphis, 
he was not willing to go with them, nor yet dared to re- 
main in Pendleton. He told me once that he had made 
many enemies to himself on my account. It was cer- 
tainly true that he was not popular with his own race. 
He used to say that he could always get along very well 
with white people, but not, he would add, "with the col- 
ored popularity." So he wanted me to let him go with 
me to Columbia. That city Avas in ruins then, and for a 
good Avhile afterwards. For some fifteen miles below that 
place, the railroad had been entirely destroyed, and it was 
a good while before it could be rebuilt, so there was much 
hauling of goods from that place up to town. I agreed, 
therefore, with Charles to let him have my four mules, 
and a big wagon, that he might go down, do some of this 
hauling, and make something for himself and me too. 
When that business came to an end, he found other work 


in Columl")ia, but he had trouble with his own color, whom 
he accused of robbing him of all that he made. I was 
frequently called a war for days together on seminary bus- 
iness, and, meanwhile, my family were still remaining in 
Pendleton. On one of these occasions, Charles fell sick 
and died. I was afterwards told by my cousin, the Rev. 
Dr. Boggs, who visited him in his sickness, that the ne- 
groes, amongst whom he died, had not left clothes enough 
to give the poor old man a decent burial. And this cousin 
said that many times during his last sickness he called for 
his old master. 

The emancipation of my negroes was a pecuniary loss 
to me of some twenty-five thousand dollars. But it was, 
at the same time, my deliverance from a very serious and 
weighty responsibility, and I have never once regretted 
the emancipation. Xor, though I frequently made in- 
quiries of men on this subject, did I ever find one who 
said he was sorry that it had taken place. 


Providential Dealings — Full Account or Revision. 

(Editorial Note.) 

For some reason the work of preparing the eleventh 
chapter of ]\Iy Life and Times was left by the venerable 
author to be the last of his work, but before anything had 
been done npon it, he was called away. 

It was his design, as we understand it, that this chapter 
should contain a full account of that important work 
undertaken by the Southern Presbyterian Church in the 
very beginning of its history, and prosecuted through a 
series of years until completed in the adoption of the 
BooJc of Church Order, embracing the "Form of Govern- 
ment" and the "Rules of Discipline." This work was, in 
one sense, a revision of the old Form of Government ; but 
it embodies certain distinctive principles, and the history 
of the process by which these came to be embodied in the 
organic law of the church, is one of intense interest. Xo 
one was better qualified to give the history of this work 
than Dr. Adger. He was himself an active participant 
in the labor involved, and brought to that labor a pro- 
found conviction of the importance of the principles 
which entered into it, and great earnestness of purpose in 
reviewing their embodiment in our organic law. It is 
greatly to be regretted that the story of this great work, 
which did not reach its completion until eighteen years 
after its beginning, could not have been a part of this vol- 
ume. Xo one is now left to us who was so closely iden- 
tified with it, and who so thoroughly understood it in all 
its phases, or who could so well have recorded it as a part 
of the history of our church. 

CHAPTER XII.— Part 1. 

The Coxtkoversies of My Times. 

THE controversies of the nineteenth century are a con- 
tinuation of those of the eighteenth and preceding 
centuries, followed bv some peculiar to itself. 

1. The controversy with sceptical criticism, which 
would overthrow the inspiration of the sacred writings by 
affirming inspiration of the sacred ivriters, only, however, 
as all men of genius are inspired ; which would make 
human reason the a priori judge of divine revelation; 
"which would undertake to eliminate all that is human 
out of the Christian Scriptures, and which reduces to 
myth or legend, or allegory, whatsoever in the divine 
records is unpalatable to its own taste." 

2. "The controversy wdth ontology, in that transcen- 
dental and pantheistic form of it which undertakes to 
show by metaphysics how the universe must have been 
evolved out of the absolute ; how the infinite becomes real 
in the finite ; how one is made all, and all are made one ; 
how God alone exists, and all things in the universe are 
but his phenomena." 

3. The controversy with the physical sciences, as, in the 
hands of some of their devotees, they turn against the 
Christian Scriptures, and seek to destroy their credi- 
bility. Geography and astronomy furnish specimens of 
these centuries ago. In the nineteenth century, geology 
and evolution of new" species furnish other specimens. 
Such controversies as these form, in our day, the battle 
ground of the evidences of Christianity — a battle outside 
of, and against, the citadel itself. 

But besides these questions, there are various subjects 
of controversy amongst the professors of the Christian 
faith themselves. 

The church of Rome would like us all to believe that 
w^ithin herself all is peace and imity. But the contrary 
is very well kno^^^l to be true. Her controversy, however, 


with Protestants does not belong to the nineteenth century 
in any special sense. 

Leaving, therefore, the questions which divide Protes- 
tants and Roman Catholics, what divides the Protestants 
of Great Britain amongst themselves ? It is questions of 
dissent and of conformity with the Establishment. And 
what divides the Establishment itself ? It is questions 
still about the church, between the Anglicans, and what 
they call the Ultra-Protestants. Pass to the EiDisco- 
palians of this country, and they also are very much 
engaged in the discussion of church questions among 

Amongst Congregationalists, there is unquestionably a 
firmer and more earnest faith in their distinctive views 
of church polity. 'No "plan of union" between them and 
any body of Presbyterians would now be a possibility on 
their side any more than on the other. ISTevertheless, on 
various questions of theology proper, they are very much 

With our Baptist brethren in the United States the in- 
crease of denominational zeal is exceedingly manifest. 
Some of them deny that Pedo-Baptist societies, or those 
that do not practise immersion, are any churches at all. 
The English Baptists are generally more liberal on these 
points. One important event, however, has occurred in 
the history of American Baptists, particularly those 
dwelling in the Southern States. They have been induced 
to accept the Westminster Confession of Faith for their 
own. On the part of Presbyterians, there is, we believe, 
a stronger and clearer development of the primitive doc- 
trine of the church memljership of infants, even when 
only one parent is a church member. There is also 
amongst Presbyterians an increasing sense of the essen- 
tially schismatic position, both of American Baptists and 
High Church Episcopalians — of the former for rending 
the body of Christ about baptism, of the latter for rend- 
ing it about ordination. 

Then, as to the Methodist Episcopal Church, there was 
amongst them a serious controversy, and even a division 
took place, on the point of the absence of any direct rep- 
resentation of the people in their conference. This, I be- 


lieve, lias been healed : 1)ut there has risen a controversy 
respecting the heretical doctrine of immediate and perfect 
sanctification in this life. 

Leaving, again, these varions qnestions agitating the 
different evangelical churches, I refer to a more general 
controversy, the millenarian, -which vet is clearly a ques- 
tion of ecciesiology, that has been, and still is, widespread, 
both in Europe and this country. 

Another question, which has been very widely and 
bitterly discussed in this century, and which, in its most 
important bearings, is a question of ecciesiology, is that 
of slavery. For never did they touch bottom in that dis- 
cussion, until they inquired whether slaveholding is sin- 
ful, and must be made a matter of church discipline. 
Wherever these two simple questions were decided in the 
negative, the contention maintained by the slaveholder 
was won; the fight immediately became a conflict, not 
with him, but Christianity and the Bible, and the struggle 
was transferred from the field of ecciesiology to that of 
the evidences. 

The same is true of the controversy of total abstinence, 
and some others like it. The settlement of this question 
upon scripture principles always determines the true 
limits of church power, as well as defines the true nature 
of the Christian virtue of temperance. 

Thus it would seem to be true, to a considerable extent, 
that the controversies of this nineteenth century have been 
questions about the church, her nature, her mission, her 
functions, her powers, her ofiicers, her members. The 
questions have not been about points of abstract princi- 
ple, nor doctrines of systematic divinity, but points of 
church order, church work, church discipline. 

!N^ow, 1 do not propose, in this twelfth chapter of My 
Life and Times, to discuss any of these questions to which 
I have referred. What I attempt is certain controversies 
confined to the American Presbyterian church during this 
nineteenth century. I commence with 

The Old axd iSTew School Coxteoversy. 
This had its beginning at the commencement of this 
century, and culminated in 1837 and 1838. The leader of 


this eulniinatioii was Robert J. Breckinridge, who was or- 
dained to the ministry in 1832. The Princeton professors 
did not take a leading part, bnt they Avere all on the right 
side. Theological professors do not generally take the lead 
in such controversies ; they feel unwilling to prejudice the 
interests of their institution. It is just so with presi- 
dents of colleges and orphanages, and with the secretaries 
of Assembly boards or executive committees. They are 
all afraid to take any decided part in questions which 
divide the church. Each has something of his own which 
he is very liable to regard more than the interests of the 
whole church. Accordingly, when the Assembly w^as 
asked to establish a theological seminary at Danville, Ky., 
and some opposition to the proposition was made by the 
friends of Princeton, we hear Dr. Breckinridge saying 
in true Kentucky style, ''Yon have Princeton, but we 
want a thing of our own ; if you w^on't let us have a thing 
of our own, we will come here and take your thing away 
from you, and carry it out to Kentucky." 

The controversy in question was the fruit of a com- 
promise between Congregational independency and Pres- 
byterianism. The Plan of Union, entered into in 1801, 
allowed churches in the new settlements, chiefly of the 
Xorthwest, w^hich were generally composed of both ele- 
ments, to elect pastors from either denomination, con- 
ducting their discipline according to either Congrega- 
tional or Presbyterian principles, as the majority of their 
members might determine. Where the majority were 
Presbyterians, elders might rule ; if the majority of 
members were Congregationalists, then committeemen 
might be appointed in their stead ; and, when appeals had 
to come before a presbytery these committeemen were 
allowed all the rights and functions of ruling elders. And 
yet none of these committeemen had ever been required to 
subscribe any symbols of faith. Of course, it is easy to 
see that the result must be a hybrid system, both as to 
doctrine and church order. It has been well said ''that 
churches, presbyteries and synods were born of it, all 
which, like Jacob's cattle, were ring-streaked, speckled, 
and grizzled," the product was Presbyterianism and Con- 
gregationalism, but especially the latter. The Plan of 


Union was paramonnt to the Constitution of the Presby- 
terian Chnrch. From the very natnre of things, the Laxer 
system sniDerseded the stricter. Then also, as a matter of 
course, laxity of doctrine accompanied indifference to or- 
der. Chnrch government and chnrch discipline are the 
necessary bnhvarks of chnrch doctrine, and it is the Lord 
himself who has thns hedged ronnd for their protection 
the truths w^hich he has revealed. It was not strange, 
therefore, that the Plan of Union freely tolerated errors 
in doctrine. The dangerous theological speculations which, 
at this period, overran Xew England, were carried by the 
Congregational missionaries into the l^orthw^est, and very 
soon the most fatal departures from gospel truth spread 
all over the churches planted there. I cannot particular- 
ize, but must simply affirm that the very foundations of 
the Westminster standards of doctrine were thus over- 
turned. But for a fuller and very trustworthy account 
of all these matters the reader may consult Dr. Samuel J. 
Baird's History of the New School, or the fourteenth 
chapter of Dr. Palmer's admirable volume, Thorn well's 
Life and Letters. 

Presbyterians believe that Jesus Christ has a kingdom 
in this world, which is his church, whose constitution and 
laws he has distinctly revealed in the word. This church 
is his agency for the gathering and edifying of his people, 
and for the propagation of the faith throughout the world. 
It has always been understood by real Presb'\i:erians that 
the church herself is to do the work for which she was in- 
stituted, instead of employing voluntary societies to act 
in her stead. And from their earliest emigration to this 
country, they have, so far as able, always endeavored* to 
act out this belief. 

On the other hand. Independency, from the incom- 
pleteness of its organization, is necessarily compelled to 
work through other agencies not under her direct author- 
ity. Hence there originated amongst the individual and 
separated Christian congregations of Xew England three 
great voluntary societies, one to do the church's work 
of education, a second her work of home missions, and a 
third the work of propagatine; her faith abroad. They 
were Xew England societies, but they chose to call them- 


selves the American Education Society, the American 
Home Mission Society, and the American Board of Com- 
missioners for Foreign Missions, popuhirlv kno\ni as the 
A. B. C. F. M. 

I would not ascribe to ambition the prefix of American 
by these societies to their o"^^^l proper names. The Pil- 
grim Fathers were on these shores long before the Scotch- 
Irish Presbyterians came in, and were gro^vn rich and 
strong while these later pilgrims and strangers were still 
poor and weak. It was quite natural for jSTew England 
to consider herself the whole country, and, accordingly, 
to claim that great name for herself. The x\merican Edu- 
cation Society, founded in Boston in 1815, deserved the 
respect of all good men, and very soon acquired large re- 
ceipts for its high purpose of educating young men for 
the gospel ministry. Many were very glad to buy hon- 
orary membership on its rolls at a high price in money. 
It had branch societies distributed all over the land, and 
it aspired to the educating of ministers for the w^hole 
country. The Presbyterians were not able, for a long 
time, to compete with this society. But in 1818 they or- 
ganized a Presbyterian Education Society in Philadel- 
phia, "which should be under the inspection of the Gen- 
eral Assembly, and a faithful representative of the whole 
denomination." "But the foreign influences, which had 
been imported into the body, set themselves at once to 
counteract the policy thus indicated. A rival organiza- 
tion was instantly created, imder a similar name, which 
refused to acknowledge Assembly control, and soon went 
over bodily to the American Education Society, and be- 
came its active instrument in promoting its ascendancy 
within the entire limits of the Presbyterian Church. 
Meanwhile, the church board languished for years, by 
reason of this opposition, together with its own restricted 
powers and the general inefficiency in its management, 
until 1831, when it was reorganized under the charge of 
the Rev. Dr. John Breckinridge as its secretary. Then at 
once it sprang into vigor, and held its own against all 
rivalry, until the hour of complete deliverance from all 
this thraldom was chimed in 1837." ^ 

* Dr. Baird's History, pp. 28.3-2!»2. and Tliornwcirs Life and 
Letters, p. 200., 


As to the A. B. C. F. M., it should be stated that at its 
first organization, in 1810, Boston and its surroundings, 
with other Xew Enghand towns on the Atlantic coast, must 
have far excelled any other portion of this coast as to in- 
tercourse with foreign nations. ]^ew York itself, at that 
time, had very small pretentions. The hardy sons of Xew 
England were, in multitudes of cases, born seamen. They 
not only carried on the whale fishery in the South Seas, 
but the commerce of those States was by them extended 
far and wide, and their ships visited various foreign na- 
tions. Meantime, the Scotch-Irish Presbyterian emigra- 
tion found its way chiefly inland to Pennsylvania and 
Virginia, and thence westward and southward. They 
were not maritime people. Accordingly, the dwellers 
on the jSTew England coast had foreign nations much more 
in their eye and in their thoughts than our agricultural 
forefathers. It was natural, therefore, that 'New Eng- 
land Christians should precede them in the foreign mis- 
sionary work. 

It should also be stated that the A. B. C. E. M. had a 
remarkable birth. Eour young students of divinity, men 
of broad intelligence and lofty aspirations, meeting to- 
gether often for conference and prayer about the kingdom 
of Christ behind a certain hay-stack in some j^ew Eng- 
land field, first conceived the idea of becoming mission- 
aries to the heathen. They it was who stirred up their 
fathers in the jSTew England ministry to form the A. B. C. 
E. M. 

It should be stated, further, that not very long after 
the first organization of this ^ew England board, its cor- 
porate membership is found to include a number of prom- 
inent Presbyterian ministers in jSTew York City and else- 
where. Dr. Samuel Miller, the Princeton professor of 
high Presbyterian reputation, I recall to mind, as being 
one of these, and he continued such until about 1832 or 

But in the early history of American Presbyterianism 
the church's duty of doing, in her organic form, this work 
of the foreign propagation of the faith, as well as train- 
ing her own ministry, had been clearly recognized. As 
early as 1751, a collection was ordered to be taken each 


year in every church, to send the gospel to the heathen, 
and upon this fund David Brainard was sustained among 
the Indians until his death, in 1781. In 1802, the Synod 
of Pittsburgh resolved itself into a foreign mission so- 
ciety, with a regular constitution and officers. In the 
same year, the Synod of the Carolinas sent two mission- 
aries to the Xatchez Indians, and one to the Catawbas, 
conducting the work through a commission regularly ap- 
pointed. At the same period, 1802, the Assembly ap- 
pointed a standing committee of foreign missions. Mean- 
while, various local foreign mission societies had sprung 
up, all subject to the church. In 1817, the subject of for- 
eign missions came again before the Assembly, the result 
of which was the organization of the "United Foreign 
Mission Society," composed of Presbyterian, Eeformed 
Dutch, and Associate Reformed Churches, receiving the 
sanction of the ecclesiastical bodies to which they be- 
longed. For eight years it prosecuted its work with vigor, 
gradually absorbing all the local societies. How^ever, in 
1824, the Synod of Pittsburgh transferred their missions 
to its care, supposing it would continue always a Presby- 
terian body. Yet, at the very moment of this transfer, 
negotiations were in progress with the A. B. C. F. M., 
which soon absorbed the whole. There remained, there- 
fore, to the Presbyterian Church no Indian missions at 
all, because those of the Synod of the Carolinas, which 
date back to 1802, had already, in 1818, been transferred 
to the American Board. 

But soon the Western Foreign Mission Society was 
revived in the Synod of Pittsburgh. It presented itself 
to the Assembly of 1832 for recognition, having its first 
missionaries chosen, and their field to be Western Africa. 
Three years afterwards, that is, in 1835, it had twenty 
missionaries under its care, laboring in western Africa, 
northern India, and among several Indian tribes at home. 
Accordingly, the Assembly now began negotiations with 
the Synod of Pittsburgh for a transfer of all these to it- 
self. But the Assembly of 1836, under imported foreign 
influences, receded from this proposal. Then came the 
glorious period of 1837 and 1838, and the Revolution, 
which forever committed our church to carrying on 
directlv its own foreio-n mission work. 


But the great battle between the two uncongenial par- 
ties united together in 1801, resulted from their work 
on the same field of home missions. The Presbyterians 
made a beginning on that field as early as 1802, but do^m 
to 1816, tiie date of the first establishment of their Board 
of Domestic Missions, their efforts were crippled, as Dr. 
Palmer expresses it, through the opposition engendered 
by what should rightly be called the ''Plan of Conten- 
tion," rather than the "Plan of Union." There soon 
grew up out of this opposition what was called the United 
Domestic Missionary Society. This, in 1826, resolved it- 
self into the American Home Mission Society, which was 
planned in a meeting of delegates from the Xew England 
churches, held in Boston early in the same year. Dr. Ab- 
salom Peters was at the head of this latter institution, and 
he made it his constant effort to absorb the Presbyterian 
Board. He first contrived to gain over to his views Dr. 
Ezra Stiles Ely, the secretary of the Assembly Board at 
Philadelphia, and these two soon labored together for the 
amalgamation of the Presbyterian Boards and the Amer- 
ican Home Mission Society. This project failing. Dr. 
Absalom Peters next endeavored to plant a branch of his 
society in the West, at Cincinnati, hoping the Assembly 
would carry on its work in the West through this branch 
as a common agency. His design was, says Dr. Palmer, 
either to drive the Presbyterian Church out of the West 
as a field of operations, or so to control her movements 
that they should be wholly subordinate to the interests of 
Congregationalism. At length, it was found necessary, 
for the protection of Presbyterianism, that a convention 
of representatives from all the Western Synods should 
be held at Cincinnati in ^N'ovember of 1831. Here the 
question at issue between Congregationalism and the 
Presbyterian Church was definitely settled in resolutions, 
to the entire and final defeat of all the schemes of Dr. 
Absalom Peters and the American Home Mission Society. 
The convention resolved that "it is inexpedient to propose 
any change in the General Assembly's mode of conducting 
domestic missions, fully approving of that now in such 
successful operation ; and that the purity, peace, and 
prosperity of the Presbyterian Church materially de- 


pended on the active and efficient aid -which the sessions 
and presbyteries under its care may afford to the As- 
sembly's board. Dr. Palmer says, ''With the American 
Education Society to train a ministry in lax theology, and 
with the American Home Mission Society to distribute 
and support them in their field of labor, it was simply a 
question of time to trample the Confession of Faith in 
the dust, to lay prostrate the whole constitution and or- 
der of our church, and to render the entire Presbyterian 
Church a bound vassal under iSTew England theology and 
jSTew England control. 

Such were the vexatious contentions, both as to doctrine 
and j)olity, with which the so-called Plan of Union had 
tormented the Presbyterian Church for more than thirty 
years.* There ensue now the famous trials of the Rev. 
Albert Barnes for heresy. He had published a sermon 
in 1828 on "^'The Way of Salvation." The case went up 
from the presbytery, through the synod, to the i\.ssembly 
of 1831, where the sermon of Mr. Barnes was only cen- 
sured for unguarded and objectionable passages. In 
1835 he was again tried on the charges of heresy, brought 
by Dr. George Junkin, based on his recently published 
commentary on Romans. The case reached the Assem- 
bly of 1836, by which Mr. Barnes was sustained. An- 
other flagrant outrage by that Assembly was the creation 
of what was appropriately designated an ''Elective Af- 
finity Presbytery" in the Synod -of Philadelphia, and 
against its remonstrances. This consisted of a company 
of ministers and churches, pointed out by name, thrown 
together because of their doctrinal s^mipathies and irre- 
spective of geographical boundaries. Then, to place this 
body beyond the reach of synodical action, it was erected, 
with two others of like sentiment, into the Synod of Dela- 
ware. Here was not only an asylum provided for men 
unsound in the faith, but presbyteries were created to 
license candidates who would everj'^vhere else be rejected. 

In the year 1833 came to the Assembly a memorial 
from Ohio, known as the Western Memorial, testifying 

* It had also introduced into her ministry many men untrue both 
to her doctrine and order. 


against nine specified doctrinal errors, and urging the 
repeal of the Plan of Union and all special arrangements 
with the Congregational churches. During the session of 
the Assembly of 1834, the famous "Act and Testimony" 
was drawn up by the pen of Kev. Dr. K. J. Breckinridge. 
This paper closed with a recommendation for a conven- 
tion, to be held next year. This convention prepared a 
memorial to the Assembly of 1835, which received from 
it a measure of consideration, and raised hopes of ulti- 
mate reform excited only to be blasted ; for the next As- 
sembly, that of 1836, was more radical than any that had 
preceded. This was the Assembly that cleared Mr. 
Barnes of heresy. But, in 1837, for the first time in sev- 
eral consecutive years, the orthodox party found itself in 
a small majority. The business of reform was brought 
before this body in an able "Testimony and Memorial" 
from the pen of Dr. Breckinridge, making sixteen speci- 
fications as to false doctrine (which the reader may find 
in Pahners Life of Thornwell, p. 195), and proposing the 
immediate abrogation of the Plan of Union, the discoun- 
tenancing of the American Education and Home Mission- 
ary Societies, and other measures of like character. It 
was then carried that, by this abrogation, the four Synods 
of Utica, Geneva, Genessee, and Western Reserve, which 
were founded upon this platform, are, and are hereby, de- 
clared to be, no longer a part of the Presbyterian Church 
in the United States of America. This action has been 
assailed as uncoiistitutional. But the Plan of Union being 
established simply by legislative act, it could equally as 
well. Dr. Archibald Alexander maintained, be declared, 
by legislative act, null and void. Of course, the platform 
on which they stood, being taken away, the presbyteries 
and synods which stood upon it fell to the ground. 

"In the following year, 1838, commissioners from these 
exscinded synods presented themselves with their creden- 
tials. ISTo sooner had the opening prayer been offered 
than Dr. Patton arose, with certain resolutions in his 
hand." The moderator, Dr. William S. Plumer, pro- 
nounced him out of order, "since, till the roll was made 
out of those who had regular commissions, there was no 
house to hear him." Dr. Patton appealed to the house. 


The moderator ro])li(Ml, "There is no h«inse to a])]teal to." 
Being defeated by the tact and firmness of tlie moderator, 
the only resource of these intrnders was to attempt their 
organization of an Assembly, by a loud call, from Mr. 
Cleaveland, in the body of the honse, upon Dr. jSTathan 
S. S. Beman to take the chair. This gentleman stepped 
into the aisle, "where, in the utmost confusion, a few 
questions and answers were spoken, and the whole party 
retired to organize in another building. "The disrup- 
tion," says Dr. Balmer (page 209), "was eifected. The 
Old and jSTew Schools were now distinctly apart, and those 
who stood by the Constitution of the Church, in a strict 
interj)retation of her symbols of doctrine and principles 
of government, rejoiced in a great deliverance." 

This disruption of the Presbyterian Church extended, 
more or less, through all its synods and all its presby- 
teries. It divided the Charleston Union Presbytery, 
which had ordained me to the foreign mission work, into 
two bodies — one the Charleston Union Presbytery, and 
the other the Charleston Presbytery. This latter corres- 
ponded with the foreign missionaries, which had been 
sent out, to know on which side they would stand. My 
sympathies and opinions had always been strongly on the 
Old School side, and I, therefore, requested to be enrolled 
with the Presbytery of Charleston. 

The Board Coxtroversy. 

Dr. Palmer well remarks that there was left over a 
"residuary bequest" — "a sort of remainder" — from the 
original controversy with which the church was rent in 
1837-'38.* This bequest and remainder was the board 
controversy. One expression which he uses in relation to 
this very point is liable to be misunderstood. He says, 
"During the period, when the church was brought under 
a species of vassalage to Congregationalism, the great 
national societies, which usurped her functions, conducted 
their operations by the agency of boards. The church 
had become familiar with that mode of action," etc. jSTo 
one will deny the influence of Congregationalism upon 

* See Life and Letters, pp. 182-221. 


the Presbyterian Cliurcli, esijecially in tliose portions of 
it most contigiions to Xew England; nor that in the 
iN'orthwestern wilderness, where the American Education 
Society and the American Home Mission Society chiefly 
operated, there was brought about a vassalage of the Pres- 
byterian Church to Congregationalism. Of course, Dr. 
Palmer did not mean to apply his remark to our church in 
all its parts and portions. Xeither is he to be understood 
as meaning that our whole church had become familiar 
with that mode of action in the sense of becoming, in any 
degree, satisfied with it. The sturdv Scotch-Irish Presbv- 
terians of Pennsylvania, Virginia, Kentucky, and the 
Carolinas, who constituted the bulk of our Presbyterian 
Church in those days, had been educated better by their 
fathers, and could not approve the mixing up of the 
church with voluntary associations. They tolerated the 
Plan of Union, but, from the first, they did not like it. and 
it was influence from such quarters that finally overthrew 
it. If "boards, exactly analagous" to the hybrid ones, 
were established, it was not the work of these real Presby- 
terians. From the beginning, Philadelphia had become 
the centre of the Presbyterian Church in this country. 
Philadelphia and contiguous parts of Pennsylvania and 
Xew Jersey, together with large portions of rural Xew 
York, had long felt the influence of their near neighbors, 
the Congregationalists. The new boards all centred in 
Philadelphia, and their leading members, as well as those 
of every Assembly, for some time, came largely from the 
districts I have named. The Assembly itself, from the 
beginning, with only five exceptions, met every year in 
Philadelphia, until, as Dr. Breckinridge expressed it, 
"we got it set on wheels in IS-ii," and it came thereby 
under other influences than those of "the mother city." 
It will hardly be maintained, therefore, that our church, 
as a whole, had l)ecome familiar with action through 
boards, in the sense of being fascinated with them, when 
it is considered that in less than two years after the abro- 
gation of the Plan of Union, there began a most de- 
termined opposition to the continuance of these methods. 
When Calvin undertakes to state the true doctrine of 
the church, he liegins, first, with her relation to God, and 


then her relation to us. "The church is a divine institu- 
tion, an external help to nourish the faith begotten in us. 
God has given her the gospel with pastors and teachers. 
He has invested them with authority. He has omitted 
nothing which might conduce to holv consent in the faith 
and to right order." Here is Jus Divinum Preshyterii. 
The church being the work of God's hand, let no man dare 
essav any change or improvement in its structure. It is 
incredible that God, who instituted the church, should 
tolerate any human alterations in it. If Christ is the 
Head and King, we must let him rule in his kingdom. 

As to the church's relation to us, Calvin says that scrip- 
ture makes her "our mother." Though poj^ery fatally, 
and prelacy too much, exaggerate this idea, yet Presbyte- 
rians make far too little of the church. As our mother, it 
is hers to nourish us when we are babes, and train us up 
to be adults in faith. I do not say that she does all this, 
but Calvin is certainly right in maintaining that such is 
our Father's design in instituting the churcli. She is to 
be a mother to us, and, as such, to be revered and obeyed 
by us in the Lord. The authority of church officers and 
church courts is not from the people, as the Congregation- 
alists imagine. It is put upon them by God. 

Of the power given of God to the church, Calvin makes 
three departments — the power diatactic or legislative, the 
power diacritic or judicial, and the power dogmatic or 
doctrinal. Xow, let it be observed that of legislative 
power very little indeed is conferred on the church. 
Jesus Christ stands alone as King in his kingdom. Her 
officers are not his councillors, but only his servants, ^ot 
a law can the church make, out of her own discretion, ad- 
ditionally to those he has given her. She is permitted to 
act only by divine command. For everything set up by 
her she must produce a "thus saith the Lord." In the 
whole sphere of religion, whatever is not commanded is 
forbidden. This is the ground of the great Protestant 
maxim, that the Bible is our only, and our sufficient, 
rule of faith and practice. ''The whole counsel of God 
concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's 
salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set do\vn in 
scripture, or, by good and necessary consequence, may be 


deduced from scripture, unto which nothing is, at any 
time, to be added, whether by new revehations of the 
Spirit or traditions of men." Our doctrine, our disci- 
pline, our worship, are all divine and revealed things, 
to which the church can add, from which she can take 
away, nothing. jSTo more discretion has the church in 
regulating those who compose her membership. They 
are the free sons of God, and she cannot bind their con- 
sciences. ISTeither contrary to the scriptures, nor yet in 
addition to the scriptures, can she impose any new duties 
not imj)osed on men by the word. On the other hand, she 
cannot make anything to be sinful which God himself has 
not, in his holy w^ord, forbidden. In fine, the church has 
no legislative power, except as to the mere circumstances 
of time and place, order and decency, which, from the 
nature of the case, scripture could not regulate, and which 
must needs be left, and have therefore been left, to hu- 
man discretion. Kespecting such circumstances as these 
the divine law is, let all things be done decently and in 
order. All the power which the church has about laws is 
declarative and ministerial. Her officers declare, not 
their own will, but the Lord's, and that only as he makes 
it known in the w^ord, which is open to all men, and which 
every man is entitled to judge of and interpret for himself. 
Such are the principles that were involved in the board 
controversy. Christ being sole Head and King of his 
church, having given to her all the officers she needs, hav- 
ing revealed to them in what way they were to carry on 
her work, having limited her obedience to those things 
which he has commanded, and what he has not com- 
manded being therefore forbidden, his church was to 
do his work herself, not remit it to any voluntary associa- 
tion. Still further, she w'as not to turn it over to any or- 
ganized body of one hundred men which she herself 
might appoint. She was to be herself the Lord's agent, 
and not invent new agencies through which she might act. 
Of course, the church herself could not directly execute 
her Lord's commands. She must have officers or agents, 
such as committees, to execute her work. The reader will 
easily perceive the fundamental character of the board 


Under the Plan uf Union, or, more properly, of Con- 
tention, Avhicli lasted for thirty-six years — that is to say, 
from 1801-1837 — the Presbyterian Church had grown to 
be acenstomed to the idea of church action, not direct, but 
through appointed boards. When the church was lib- 
erated from the Plan of Union, she continued to act upon 
this same idea. Her boards of foreign and domestic 
missions, education, etc., were made to consist each of 
about one hundred men, usually the most prominent men 
in the church, resident all over her territory, from north 
to south and from east to west. It was not expected that 
these dignitaries would be able to leave their homes and 
their employments, from time to time — say, every month 
— and repair, at great expense of time and money, to 
Philadelphia, then the centre of the church and the seat 
of these boards. Their appointments were simply hon- 
orary — honorary to the individual men, and, because of 
their individual eminence, honorary to the cause it Avas 
expected their names should promote and advance. It 
was even allowed that these honors might, in a sense, be 
purchased with money. The giver of one hundred dol- 
lars might become, not, indeed, a voting member, but 
would still be acknowledged in honor of his gift as a mem- 
ber of the board. To have his name entered on the pub- 
lished list with those of so many great and eminent per- 
sons, would be considered, by many a man of money, an 
honor not dearly purchased at the price of one hundred 
dollars. Such being the arrangement made, of course 
very few of the voting members of the board ever at- 
tended its annual meetings. There was an executive com- 
mittee of each of these boards, its members residing 
either in the city of Philadelphia, or within easy reach 
of that city, and these i^ersons were the actual working 
members of each board. These executive committees pre- 
pared their annual reports to their respective boards. 
The boards, so far as they were ever present, would hear, 
consider, and accept these reports, and then they would 
present them as their own reports of whatever had l)een 
done, to the General Assembly. 

Manifestly, these boards were of no real or important 
good use. They simply stood between the church and the 


Avork that was committed to lier hands. The executive 
committees were a real, and, indeed, indispensable, in- 
strument, through which the church could efficiently oper- 
ate, and was operating. But the boards were just so many 
encund^rances in the way of the church. 

It was in the Synod of South Carolina and Georgia, 
meeting in the city of AugTista in 1840, a little niore than 
two years after the overthrow of the Plan of Union and 
its machinery, that Dr. Thornwell first publicly assailed 
this incongruous system of boards. He submitted a doc- 
ument carefully prepared beforehand. The majority re^ 
jected his paper, his views being sustained by only a very 
respectable minority. Forwarding this document to Dr. 
Breckinridge for publication in the Baltimore Literary 
and Religious 2Iagazine, he says, ^'I believe that the 
boards will eventually prove our masters, unless they are 
crushed in their infancy. They are founded upon a 
radical misconception of the true nature and extent of 
ecclesiastical power ; and they can only be defended by 
running into the principle, against which the Reformers 
protested, and for which the Oxford divines are now zeal- 
ously contending." What he means is that the inventors 
of the board system do not view the church as, strictly 
speaking, a divine institution, which man may not at- 
tempt to mend ; nor do they understand that the power 
of the church is limited entirely to those things which 
God has commanded her to do. He means to say that the 
Reformers held strictly to this limitation on the powers 
of the church. He means that the Oxford divines were 
zealously contending for the church's right to make laws, 
devise ceremonies, appoint saints' days, and do whatever 
seemed to her advisable. 

Previously to the synod's meeting, he had written, in 
August, 1840, to the Rev. John Douglas, "I am satisfied 
that there is a dangerous departure, in the present age 
of bustle, activity, and vain-glorious enterprise, from the 
simplicity of the institutions which Christ has established 
for the legitimate action of the church. He has appointed 
one set of instrumentalities, and ordained one kind of 
agency in his kingdom ; but we have made void his com- 
mandments, in order to establish our own inventions. I 


believe that the entire system of voluntary societies and 
ecclesiastical boards for religious purposes, is fundamen- 
tally wrong. The church, as organized by her Head, is 
competent to do all that he requires of her. He has fur- 
nished her with the necessary apparatus of means, officers, 
and institutions, in sessions, presbyteries, elders, pastors, 
and evangelists. Let us take Presbyterianism, as we have 
it described in our Form of Government, and let us carry 
it out in its true spirit, and we shall have no use for the 
sore evil of incorporated boards, vested funds, and trav- 
elling agencies. If it is wrong to hold these principles, it 
was certainly wrong to lay down such a form for the gov- 
ernment of the church ; and if we do not intend to execute 
the form, let us cease requiring our ministers to assent to 
it. Such is a skeleton of my views." 

Dr. Thornwell's article in the Baltimore magazine was 
reviewed by Dr. Smyth, and a rejoinder appeared from 
Dr. Thornwell in the magazine. 

Writing again to Dr. Breckinridge, January 17, 1842, 
he says that evidentlj^ "the first principles of ecclesias- 
tical polity are not clearly understood among us. The 
fundamental fallacy ... is that the church, instead 
of being the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ, is really 
one of his counsellors and his confidential agent. This 
rotten principle is the basis of the whole fabric of dis- 
cretionary power, and the multitude of inventions which 
have sprung from human prudence." 

This controversy, rising into public notice first in the 
Synod of South Carolina and Georgia, occupied the atten- 
tion of the Presbyterian Church in the United States of 
America until its very last Assembly, at Rochester, X. Y., 
in 1860. There it gave rise to a very great debate, and 
the x^orthern and Southern Presbyterian Churches spoke 
their last words to each other in each other's presence. 
Each had its representative. The advocates of boards 
were largely in the majority, and Avere led by the eminent, 
trusted, and beloved Charles Hodge, educator, in part, of 
many hundreds of Presbyterian ministers. His name is 
known and revered by all on this continent, and multi- 
tudes in Europe. The majority, which he led, stood on its 
own territoi-y, far up Xorth and East, in the State of New 


York. Dr. Ilocloe was surrounded b_v a multitude of 
friends and admirers, all lending him their support and 
encouragement for every word that he uttered. The mi- 
nority had for their representative and leader James 
Henley Thornwell. He had a few friends at his side, all, 
like him, far from home, in an unfamiliar region. To by 
far the greater part of those who heard him in that debate 
he was an almost unknown stranger, and they certainly 
were strangers to him, giving him no looks or smiles of 
encouragement. But before that debate closed, all those 
strangers had found out luho, and, in some degree, what 
this stranger was. 

The question, as proposed by the friends of the l)oard 
(Dr. Thornwell accepting the form in which they put it), 
was, Is it expedient to make any organic change in the 
organization of the Board of Domestic Missions ? 

Dr. Thornwell said, ''It is not very long since the 
friends of this system insisted that the difference between 
ns and them was nominal, mere hair-splitting, the differ- 
ence merely twixt tweedle-dum and tweedle-dee.^ But 
it is now admitted that the difference is important, it is 
vital and essential, the things at stake are substance, and 
not shadow, the thing that was declared to be mere ab- 
straction begins to be viewed as something very danger- 
ous. Moderator, I accept that view of our differences 
which makes them real and important. I do not depre- 
cate this discussion. We all love the truth, and are 
equally concerned for the honor of Christ's church. We 
have no by-ends to subserve. I am no party man, but I 
am thoroughlv a Presbvterian. I wish to state the 
grounds upon which I shall cast my vote. The question 
before us is but an offshoot from another question. Our 
differences about boards spring from our differences as 
to the nature and constitution of the church. Some of us 
hold that God gave us our church government as truly 
as our doctrine, and that we have no more right to add to 
the one than to the other. They hold that, while the 
church may, of course, employ whatever agency is really 
necessary to do the work entrusted to her, for that is ini- 

* Tliis language liad been publicly used by Dr. Hodge. 


])lied in the very command which enjoins her duty, yet 
she has no right to create a new church court, or other 
body of whatever name, to stand in her place. 

''Others, as wise and as good men as the first, believe 
that no definite form of church government is given, but 
God has left it to man to organize his church, just as 
civil government was ordained of God in general, but 
man is left to arrange the particular form as may, in his 
view, best suit particular circumstances. In like manner, 
these hold in respect to church government : God gave 
only general principles, and man is to work out of them 
the best system that he can. The first party hold that God 
gave us a church ; presbyteries and assemblies, presbyters 
and deacons — all the functionaries necessary to a com- 
plete organization of his kingdom upon earth. He has 
revealed an order as well as a faith. Our attitude, in the 
one case, is to hear and believe ; in the other, it is to hear 
and obey. 

''One of the two parties represented here to-day, ac- 
cepts the motto, 'You may do all that the scriptures do 
not forbid ; ' the other, 'You can do only what the scrip- 
tures command.' This second party, whose main prin- 
ciple I just now stated, contends that man is not to be the 
counsellor of God, but is to accept the church as it comes 
from God, and do what he enjoins. They contend that 
we cannot ajDpoint a coordinate body to do the work which 
God appointed his church to do. They contend that the 
General Assembly, as representative of the church, is, and 
ought to be held to be, itself the board of missions. They 
contend for the great principles of Presbyterian Church 
order, as revealed in the Bible. The oneness of the 
church, its federative imity, is one of these principles, 
but another is the representative principle. Upon this 
principle it is that any of us are here, and upon this prin- 
ciple it is that all of us are alike here, elders as well as 
ministers, all upon the same footing, as representatives of 
the church. We are all here as ruling elders. It is in 
this capacity, as rulers in Christ's kingdom, that all the 
members of this court have committed to them for the 
church that work which they may not delegate to any 
other body. The church has a charter of faith and of 


practice, and wherever she cannot plead the authority of 
God, she has no right to act. She has no opinion ; she has 
a faith. She has no contrivances ; she has a law. Her 
authority is all ministerial and declarative. She only de- 
clares the law of the Lord, and only exercises the powers 
he gives, and only executes the work he enjoins. 2^o other 
regulations are left for her to make and to enforce save 
those of circumstantial details ; and the power to make 
these is implicitly contained in the general commands 
given to her. It is also explicitly given in the precept to 
'do all things decently and in order.' Whatever executive 
agency is requisite in order to do her appointed work she 
can, of course, employ ; but she may not go outside of this 
necessity, and transfer her work to another body to be 
performed by it. 

"Xow," said Dr. Thornwell, '"if this notion of church 
power be conceded; if we correctly apprehend the real 
nature of church courts as divine institutions, and if we 
duly conceive of the solemnity and responsibility of all 
their action, then we are prepared to see how all this bears 
upon the question of boards. What, then, is a board — one 
of our boards, a board of our Assembly, as distinguished 
from a simple committee ? 

"In the first place, it is an organism, and not an organ. 
It is a complete body. It is a complete whole. It has 
head, body, limbs, hands, tongue, and now they want to 
give it feet. It has a president for its head, with a body 
of many members ; it has an executive committee for its 
hands ; and now our brethren propose, by a travelling 
secretary, to give it feet to travel — to travel over the 
whole land. Xow wherein does this church body differ 
from a church court i Talk of this as a mere organ ! 
Talk of this as a mere hand ! It is a hand that has an 
arm of its own, and a head of its own to direct it. It is 
as completely a moral person as any court in the Presby- 
terian Church. In what, I ask, does it diifer from a synod 
or a presbytery ? You say the board is responsible to the 
General Assembly ; so is a synod. You say a breath can 
annihilate the board ; so it may a synod. In fact, we see 
the board standing side by side with the General Assem- 
bly itself, as fully officered, as complete in its organiza- 


tion, and, so far as regards its component nicml)crs, more 
perpetual in its existence. 

''In the second place, what is the relation to the Assem- 
bly of the boards, as thus completely organized? They 
are the vicars of the Assembly. God gave the church a 
work to do in her organized capacity; she refuses to do 
that work in that organized capacity, but appoints another 
organization to do it in its organized capacity. The 
boards are the representatives of the church in its organ- 
ized capacity. This is, in fact, admitted privately by 
our brethren, for they hold that when a board acts, the 
Assembly acts. They will tell you the boards do the work 
of the Assembly in the place of the Assembly ; and they 
quote the maxim, which we admit to be applicable here, 
Qui facit per alium facit per se. But, Moderator, who 
gave the courts of the church a right to act, in their organ- 
ized capacity, by vicars, or 'representatives' ? Congress 
has power to make certain laws ; can Congress delegate 
this power to another body ? 

"In the third place, let us look at the methods of action 
which have been adopted by these creations, and we shall 
see still more plainly that they are complete organizations, 
and also that they work evil, and not good. The practical 
ends of the boards have been two — to awaken interest and 
to increase funds. As to the first end, the idea was that 
there must be a body specially devoted to aAvakening the 
missionary spirit in the church. The missionary spirit 
was not to be the healthful action of the church's life, but 
something substituted for it, something worked up in the 
bosom of the church by special influences. But the other 
end to be gained was the increase of funds. This was 
sought to be attained by the sale of these distinctions. 
Sir, it has been my lot to have part in many earnest de- 
bates in the church courts, and I do not know that I was 
ever yet betrayed into saying an unkind word of any man 
in the church, or of any institution in the church I was 
called on to oppose. But, sir, every instinct of my na- 
ture, and every holy impulse implanted within me by 
the Spirit of God, rises up with indignation and horror 
against this principle that men may buy places of honor 
and trust in this free, glorious commonwealth of Jesus 


Christ. I do revolt against this paid membership, this 
entitling' of men for money to become consulting members 
of the church or of her boards — which they tell us are the 
same thing — this selling distinctions and honors in the 
church of Christ for filthy lucre, when nothing is plainer 
than that the love of Christ should form the only motive 
of all our contributions. Whatever shall be the result of 
this discussion. Moderator, were it in my power, I would 
at least expunge, and, utterly and forever, blot out this 
organic feature of our present system, as I hope God will 
wash out the sin and shame of it in the blood of his dear 
Son. And I predict that the time is not far off, when 
the church shall, with a whip of small cords, drive out all 
the buyers and sellers from our temple. 

"Such is the scheme of the boards as established in the 
Presbyterian Church. It is a complete system. It is a 
church by men, instead of a church by God. Moderator, 
I have confidence in the men who control our boards, and, 
whilst in their hands we may escape the more serious evils 
which we dread, in w^orse hands all the evils which we 
have pointed out would grow worse. The egg of the ser- 
pent is harmless, but it contains a serpent. The boards 
may be harmless now, but they contain a principle 
fraught with mischief in the day of trial. 

"My argimient is finished, but I must notice objections. 
First, our brethren say we must not have innovations. 
Sir, we only propose a return to Bible principles and 
Bible practice. Our doctrine is as old as the ISTew Testa- 
ment, our plan as old as the Acts of the Apostles. More- 
over, the Assembly has of late virtually decided that our 
principles are the true development of its life. At the 
Xashville Assembly some of the ablest friends of boards 
advocated a new one for church extension, but the idea of 
a simple committee, though feebly advocated,* prevailed. 
Thus the Assembly took one step towards what we pro- 

"Secondly, it is urged, 'Let well enough alone.' Oh! 
sir, is it well enough ? What do brethren mean ? I am no 

* The "feeble advocacy," as Dr. Thoriiwell modestly put it, was his 
own. "Some of the ablest friends of boards" were Drs. Plumer and. 


accuser. I do not blame the l)oarcls. They have clone 
what they could with this stilT and cumbrous organization. 
But have they done well enough ? Can any man say that 
this great church, in any department of its work, is do- 
ing well enough ? Oh ! sir, when I think of eight hundred 
perishing millions abroad, and of the moral wastes of our 
own country, when I look at the power of the gospel and 
the Master's blood to redeem and save, and then think 
how little progress has been made, I cannot say, 'Let well 
enough alone.' I must put it to my brethren, is it well 
enough ? I must urge this church to inquire if she be not 
neglecting some power God has given her. She is capa- 
ble of far higher and more glorious things, and I want her 
to put forth her own living hand directly to this work." 

Thus Dr. Thornwell ended with a thrilling appeal, such 
as few men can equal, that held the Asseml)ly and the 
thronged galleries in breathless attention, while he sum- 
moned the sacramental host of God's elect to rise and 
march, and take the world for Jesus, closing with amen 
and amen ! 

In reply, Dr. Hodge complimented the eloquence of 
Dr. Thornwell, but professed his own inability to see the 
distinction drawn between a board and an executive com- 
mittee. Dr. Thornwell thought the diiference radical. 
For himself, Dr. Hodge said, snapping the thumb and 
forefinger of his right hand together, I do not think it 
worth that. "We cannot receive, and our church has 
never held, the High Church doctrines aliout organiza- 
tion, for which the brethren contend. The Spirit of God, 
dwelling in the church and guiding her by his word and 
providence, must shape her efforts and her agencies, so 
that, under the dispensation of the Spirit, far more is 
left to the discretion of the church than under the old 
economy. But now we are called upon to believe that a 
certain form of church government and order, in all its 
details and with all its appliances for the evangelical 
work, is revealed in the word, and that we are as much 
bound to receive this forui as to receive the articles of 
faith, that order is as much a uiatter of revelation as faith. 
We cannot do it, and we Avill not do it. The burden was 
too heavv for our fathers, and wc cannot bear it." 


Continuing, Dr. Hodge described, at some length, the 
struggle it had cost the church to get her work of dissem- 
inating the gospel at home and abroad, out of the hands of 
the voluntary societies, so as to entrust it to a board of her 
own creation and control. "Thus, and from this quarter, 
did opposition to our boards first arise ; now it comes 
from an opposite quarter. Then the opposition came from 
Congregationalism. jSTow it comes, and I say it with 
great respect for my Brother Thornwell, from hyper- 
hyper-hyper High Church Presbvterianism. Then we 
were told that all power is from the people ; now, that all 
power is lodged in the clergy, that presbyters are all of 
one order, all pastors, all teachers, all rulers ; then it was 
the distribution of power ; now of centralization. 

"But let us now look at this new theory of church 
authority. I understand it to be : 1, That Christ has or- 
dained a system of church government, not in general 
principles, but in all its details, and that we have no more 
right to create a new office than a new doctrine, or a new 
commandment of the Decalogue, unless we can show a 
'thus saith the Lord' for it. 2, That power inheres in 
the church, and cannot be delegated, any more than pray- 
ing or giving alms can be done by proxy. And, 3, That 
all power is joint, as opposed to several. These are the 
green withes by which it is proposed to bind the limbs of 
our church ; or rather, this is the Delilah, who is to cut 
the locks of our Samson, and send him, shorn of his 
strength, to be the sport of the Philistines. ISTow, sir, our 
church never did receive this yoke, and she will not receive 
it. We believe that all the attributes of the church l)elong 
to the Holy Ghost. He is to be her guide by his word and 
providence, and, under the general principles of the word, 
ministers, elders, and people are to do the work of the 
church, according to their best judgment. She has dis- 
cretion, sir, she cannot be bound. 

"In opposition to this theory, I have been taught by 
lips now silent in the grave, but vocal in the General As- 
sembly on high, and I will never forget it, nor cease to de- 
fend it while life and being last, that all the attriluites and 
prerogatives of power in the church arise from the in- 
dwelling of the Spirit, and where he dwells there is the 

376 :my life akd times. 

cluireli, Avitli authority to do its o^ni Avork in the best 
way ; and, as he does not dwell in the clergy exclusively, 
therefore, the jDower is not confined to the clergy ; but the 
church may, in her discretion, adopt such modes or 
agencies to carry out the commands of Christ as she deems 
best. She must be free. She must breathe. The power 
of the church is where the Holy Ghost is ; but in exter- 
nals he has given her discretion. I glory, as much as does 
my Brother Thornwell, in the principles of Presbyterian- 
ism, but one of those principles, and a most important one, 
is freedom in that which the Bible leaves to the discretion 
of Christ's i3eople. We must not forget our great dis- 
tinctive principles : First, the parity of the clergy ; sec- 
ondly, the representative element, the right of the people 
to take part, by suffrage, in the government of the church, 
and, indeed, that originally the power is deposited with 
the people ; and, thirdly, the unity of the church, that all 
its members are parts of one great whole, and that all must 
suffer and labor and rejoice together. And these are not 
compatible with the new theory. But, above all, the 
theory is utterly unscriptural. Let any man open the 
jSTew Testament, and say if our Form of Government is 
there as our faith is there ! Xo, sir, this is making the 
scaffolding to hide the building; it is making the body 
the same in value as the soul. I cannot see how any man 
can say that all the details of our system are in the Bible. 
The Jewish system, in all its details, was not in the Old 
Testament. Their yoke w^as not so heavy as that which 
these brethren would bind on our necks; and it is pre- 
posterous to expect that so heavy a yoke can be received 
by those whom Christ has made free. This is too great 
a burden ; the church cannot receive it, and we will not 
receive it. Our Christian liberty is not thus to be put in 
trammels. The shackles are worse than Jewish that they 
would put on our feet, and then tell us to go over hill and 
dale, and preach the gospel to every creature. ]^o, I do 
not find their system in the Bible, but I find just the 
opposite. Where are our apostles and prophets ? Sup- 
pose, Moderator, that Paul, inspired by God as an apostle, 
sat in your seat ! What would he care for our Book of 
Discipline, or our Form of Government? Who would 


want him to care for them ? He would ordain whom he 
pleased, depose whom he pleased, deliver to Satan whom 
he pleased. He would decide everything by the authority 
that he exercised as Christ's plenipotentiary. He would 
wait for no decisions of Assemblies. 

"But this burden to the conscience — to it I will not sub- 
mit. I will not be bound to a form of organism as I am 
to the faith of the gospel. I will not submit my con- 
science to the inferences, even of Dr. Thornwell. And 
yet this whole theory, which we are called upon to receive 
as of faith, is a matter of inference. I will not submit to 
anything as binding on my conscience that does not come 
from God's own lips. The Presbyterian Church will 
never submit as long as there is one drop of blood of her 
fathers in the veins of her children, to this superlatively 
High-Church order. Will you have deaconesses because 
the apostles had them ? 

"And, finally, this theory is suicidal. How are you to 
have schools and colleges and theological seminaries if 
you must have a divine warrant for them all ? You must 
abolish all agencies, recall your missionaries, go yourself 
and do the work of an evangelist. How are you to have 
a board of directors for a seminary, or even a president 
of such a board ? How are the brethren able to serve 
under such boards in their seminaries ? Can you find any 
warrant for them in this Bible ? Dr. Thornwell may get 
it out by an inference, but I cannot find it there. And, 
when he said that the Church Extension Committee is the 
model of what he wants, I felt as if a soaring angel had 
fallen dovm to earth. 

"If these principles of Dr. Thornwell's kill the boards, 
they will kill the committees, which our brethren would 
substitute for the boards. In fact, it is a mere question 
of arithmetic — a board or a committee ; one hundred men 
or twenty men. And a commission amounts to the same 
thing. A commission and a committee ! Where the dif- 
ference, in the word or the thing ? Xo, no ! this doctrine, 
carried out, instead of making the church more efficient, 
will bring her efforts to a dead halt. 

"The conscientiousness, of which Dr. Thornwell so 
feelingly speaks, cannot be so serious a thing after all, 

diH MY LIFE A:ND times. 

as my brotlicr would make it. It is a long time since he 
began to advocate this theory, and to make its adoption a 
matter of conscience. Our brethren must have done vio- 
lence to their consciences for a long time, for they still 
work with our boards, and cooperate under a system which 
does such violence to their consciences. 

"But there is another ground of appeal of our brethren 
that ought to be noticed. They understand us to say that 
there is but a small difference between a board and a com- 
mittee. If it is so small a matter, ask they, why cannot 
you give it up ? We cannot give it up without casting re- 
proach upon all that have gone before us ; we cannot give 
it up without abandoning the past. We cannot give it up 
without yielding to pretensions that Ave believe to be un- 
authorized by scripture. We cannot give it up without 
sacrificing our Christian liberty ! And we will not give it 
up. The church has freedom of discretion in selecting 
the modes of her operation ; and to sacrifice this freedom 
to the claims of a high jure divino churchism, which we 
do not believe to be scriptural, we cannot and will not 

In a rejoinder to Dr. Hodge's remarks, Dr. Thornwell 
said, "If my illustrious brother from Princeton had writ- 
ten out a speech to deliver before the Assembly in opposi- 
tion to my views, he could not possibly have wa'itten one 
which it would better suit me to answer than the one de- 
livered here on Saturday. He accepts the issues which 
are the true issues in this case, and has set before us the 
type of Presbyterian! sm of which the boards may be 
regarded as the natural development. There is a little 
preliminary skirmishing, which it may be necessary to 
notice before coming to the main issue, and to that let us 
first attend. 

"Dr. Plodge has concluded, from my principles, that I 
make the clergy the church. I am amazed at the charge, 
but still more amazed at the logic which sustains it. 

"Again, my brother has said that my principles are 
hyper-hyper-hyper High Presbyterianism, and I must re- 
tort that his principles are no, no, no Presbyterianism ; 
no, no, no churchism. His speech, sir, presented us with 
a little touch of democracy, a little touch of prelacy, and 


a considerable slice of Quakerism, but no Presbyterian- 
ism. Surely, sir. Dr. Hodge's statement, that the church 
is found wherever the Holy Ghost is, cannot be taken 
without much qualification. Does not the Holy Ghost 
often dwell in the heart of the solitary individual ? But 
the church is an ors-anism, unitino- manv individuals into 
one bod}^ 

''Again, the good brother appeals to authority for sanc- 
tion to his views of boards. We can appeal to fathers too. 
There have been martyrs who laid down their lives rather 
than deny the divine right of presbytery. The great 
author of the Second Book of Discipline, and many others 
of the glorious men of Scotland, held the views we now 
maintain. And we have living authorities, too — among 
whom is one who has no superior and few equals in either 
hemisphere — the great author of the Act and Testimony, 
the document that separated this church from error, to 
whom all Presbyterians are, therefore, under everlasting- 
obligations. But, Moderator, this question is not to be 
settled by human authority, but by the word of God. 

"Again, my brother twits me with supporting the 
boards while professing to be conscientiously opposed to 
the principles of their constitution. Would he have us 
to be factious ? Moderator, I never have said to my 
brethren, to whom I promised submission in the Lord, 
'I cannot submit, I will not submit.' I will submit to 
my brethren, even where I think they are mistaken, if the 
submission be not sinful. 

"The good brother complains that we wish to lay a 
heavier yoke than the Jewish upon his neck. The burden 
we want to impose is more grievous than he can bear ; he 
must have liberty. Well, sir, what we bring him is, first, 
God's authority, and, secondly, God's giiidance ; and 
these constitute our notion of perfect freedom. 

"The idea of the brother, that if Paul were here he 
would pay no regard to this church court, but act inde- 
pendently of it, upon his own authority, filled me with 
astonishment. Paul surelv would not despise order nor 
contemn the authority which his divine Master has left in 
his church. Sir, we claim to be a true apostolic church. 
Paul is here. All the apostles are here. We have the 


very principles they inculcated, and the very order they 
inaugurated — and would Paul contemn these ? 

"But I made the good brother's remarks the occasion of 
consulting Paul on this very question before us, and I 
have his answer. He declares (Ephesians iv. 11) that the 
Lord, as his ascension gifts, 'gave some apostles, and some 
prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and 
teachers,' and that 'God has set' these in his church, and 
'appointed helps and governments' for it. 

"Put let us now pass to the main issue : the Presbyte- 
rianism of my brother from Princeton, and that which 
we hold to be the Presbvterianism of the Bible and of 
our constitution. The good brother, in his account of 
church government, has not signalized one principal ele- 
ment of this Presbyterianism. He named (1) the parity 
of the clergy. Why, sir, this is not a distinctive feature 
of Presbyterian church government. All the evangelical 
sects, except the Episcopal, hold to that. (2) He named 
the authority of the people. Why, sir, that also is not dis- 
tinctive of Presbyterianism. The Congregationalists 
hold that in intenser degree than we do. (3) The Doctor 
mentioned the unity of the church. And is that pe- 
culiar to us ? Why, Rome holds that with a vehemence 
we do not put forth ! Such are the three points signal- 
ized by the brother as the main points of our system. 
Look at them, and see what they compose. Is that Pres- 
byterianism — a little of everything, but nothing distinc- 
tive ? 

"Sir, the principles which really distinguish us from 
other evangelical churches are : 

"1. The principle of representative government — of 
government by parliamentary courts, composed of pres- 
byters duly appointed and ordained. A single congrega- 
tion is governed by the parochial presbytery ; several 
associated congregations by the classical presbytery ; the 
whole church, by a presbytery of representative presby- 
ters from all its bounds. This is the first element that 
distinguishes us from Congregationalists and from pre- 
latists — government not by individual rulers, but assem- 
blies of presbyters. Do we ignore the people, then ? Far 
from it; the people are there representatively; they are 


there as presbyters, all of them alike being men whom 
they have chosen to represent them. 

"2. The members of these representative assemblies 
must be of two classes, belonging to the one order of pres- 
byters. All of them belong to the one order of rulers, and 
only as rulers, chosen rulers, or representatives of the 
people, can they appear in these courts. But they are of 
two classes, viz., (1) presbyters who only rule, and (2) 
presbyters who rule and also labor in the word and doc- 
trine. This gives us the second element of our repre- 
sentative government, and answers to the two houses 
which are found to be so excellent a help to wise and safe 

"Presbyterians, therefore, hold to the parity of the 
eldership, not only, as Dr. Hodge seems to think, to the 
parity of the 'clergy' (that is, of the teaching elders, or 
ministers), but also to the parity of all presbyters, as 
presbyters or rulers of the Lord's house. I take my 
brother, the ruling elder, when I meet him in any church 
court, by the hand as my brother and my peer. As pres- 
byters, as members of any presbytery, from the lowest to 
the highest, we are all perfectly equal in authority, al- 
though some of us have another function or office, being 
ordained to labor also in the word and doctrine. I may 
here refer to an article in the last number of the Prince- 
ton Review^ which goes to abolish and overthrow, alto- 
gether, the office of the ruling elder, and this Presbyterian 
doctrine of the parity of all presbyters. 

"3. A third distinctive feature of Presbyterian church 
government is the way in which it realizes the unity of 
the church. It realizes this idea by the elasticity of its 
parliamentary representative system. If there were but 
one congregation on earth, its session would be the parlia- 
ment of the whole church ; if half a dozen, the representa- 
tives from each would constitute a parliament for the 
whole church; if a still larger number, the same results 
would follow. So representatives from all the churches 
(or from the smaller parliaments, which is the same prin- 
ciple) constitute the parliament for the whole church. 

"Only two churches on the earth realize this idea of 
church unitv — Eome and our own church. But these are 


tlic poles apart as to the system by which they realize it. 
Kome, with her infallible pope at the head, and with 
graded authorities extending over the whole earth, one 
class subservient to another, and all to the pope, secures a 
terrible unity, binding all abjectly to a single throne. 
Our system, on the other hand, secures unity in consis- 
tency with the most perfect freedom. 

"'Now, look, brethren, at the Presbyterianism advo- 
cated by the brother from Princeton, and then at that 
which I have feebly attempted to portray ; 'look first on 
this picture, and then look on that,' and say which of them 
is the Presbyterianism of the Bible, which is your Presby- 

"I will refer to one more point, the power of the repre- 
sentative assemblies of rulers. It is simply 'ministerial 
and declarative.' They cannot make laws for God's peo- 
ple ; the}' only declare and administer the revealed laws 
of the Lord's house. They have a certain commission 
entrusted to them, and no power beyond what is necessary 
to execute that commission. Now, in the organization of 
our boards, there is allowed a power beyond what the 
church is authorized to put forth. There is constituted a 
society, separate from the church, for church purposes. 
The board is a missionary society beyond the church, out- 
side of the church, a distinct organism, and our executive 
committee is the hand of this society, not the hand of the 
church. The board is not the executive agent of the As- 
sembly. It is, in fact, not an executive agency at all. 
The executive committee is the hand of the board, and the 
board stands off as a missionary society, and to it the ex- 
ecutive committee reports. Instead of creating a hand, 
and an executive agency of the Assembly, we created a 
society, in imitation of the American Board of Foreign 
Missions, or the American Home Missionary Society, and 
transferred to it the work of missions. The board is not 
expected to do anything but appoint the executive com- 
mittee, and receive its report, adopt it, and then report 
to the Assembly. ISTow, by a true construction of our 
system, the General Assembly is the board of domestic 
missions. The executive committee ought to be the hand 
of the Assembly, and directly responsible to it. But this 


is not the case. Another organization, a* society whose 
members are not identical with the members of the 
church, and Avhose officers are not church officers, is inter- 
posed between the executive agency and the Assembly, 
Avhich ought to control. What, then, do you need ? To 
abolish the board, and have the General Assembly act as 
the board of missions for the church, or rather, the church 
act through the assembly. I care not for the name ; let 
our executive agency be called a board or a committee, no 
matter. But, let it be the hand of the church to collect 
and disburse her benefactions and do her work. What 
lias a board ever done ''i You see from this year's report of 
the board it does nothing. Many of its members never 
attend. Many do not know they are members, and others 
do not care. Its meetings are mere matters of form. The 
board relies on the Assembly, and the Assembly relies on 
the board, and supervision is defeated. 

"When you lay down the proposition that the church is 
'the missionary agency, you make every church member a 
member, and lay upon him the responsibility of doing his 
duty. Under our present organization, we know that is 
not felt. 

"Moderator, I have now discharged, according to my 
ability, a solemn public duty. I have stood up for prin- 
ciples that I solemnly believe to be fundamental in our 
system, and of incalculable importance to the welfare and 
advancement of our glorious cause. I love the Avhole 
catholic church ; but I love the Presbyterian Church with 
a fervor and a devotion which I cannot utter, and I do de- 
sire to see her put in that position that I believe she must 
occupy, in order to the accomplishment of her mission in 
pouring the blessings of peace and salvation upon our 
whole land, and upon the nations. I want the church to 
come up to this mission in her own proper organization, 
with her own officers, and in her own power, executing 
her commissions herself, without delegating to any out- 
side organism those functions and duties to perform, 
which is her higliest glory. When they ask the people to 
contribute, let her ministers speak, not in the name of this 
board or that board, but in the name of Zion and her glori- 
ous king. Let them ever press the idea that it is not the 


cause of a board of human ci-eatiou, hut of the blood- 
bought church and her exalted Head." 

Subsequently, Dr. Hodge said that he rose reluctantly. 
He rose rather in obedience to the wishes of friends and 
brethren, than by the impulse of his own mind; but it 
was, perhaps, due to himself and his position to say a 
word or two. On Saturday last, in what he said, there 
occurred three sentences, which Dr. Thornwell had held 
up sometimes in a ludicrous, sometimes in a portentous 
light, and out of them had constructed and attributed to 
him a theory of church government which he utterly re- 
pudiated, ile held no such theory. If Dr. Thornwell's 
was the sentiment of this house, then he was unworthy to 
hold, at the hands of this Assembly, the place in which 
he had labored for almost forty years. "Permit me, Mr. 
Moderator, to state, in very few words, what my theory of 
Presbyterianism is. It involves the following principles : 

"1. That all the attributes and prerogatives of the 
church of God on earth are derived from the indwelling 
of the Holy Spirit. 

"2. Consequently, that the prerogatives of the church 
belong, in the first instance, in sensu primo, to the people, 
and not exclusively to the clergy. This is the great dis- 
tinctive principle of Protestantism. 

"'S. That these prerogatives are to be exercised, through 
the organs, and, according to the rules, prescribed in the 
word of God. 

"4. That the Holy Spirit, dwelling in all the children 
of God, making them one body in Christ Jesus, distributes 
gifts to each one severally as he wills. To one he gives 
the gifts of an apostle, to another those of a prophet, to 
another those of a teacher, to another those of ruling, etc. 

"5. That of these organs or officers of the apostolic 
church, some were intended to be permanent, others tem- 
porary. The criteria for discriminating between the per- 
manent and temporary offices are : ( 1 ) The nature of the 
gifts involved in them. It was plenary revelation and 
inspiration which constituted an apostle. If that gift has 
ceased, the office has ceased. It was occasional inspira- 
tion which constituted a prophet; if that gift is no longer 


granted, we have no longer a class of living prophets. (2) 
When there is an express command that a given office 
should be continued; or (3) When the qualifications, 
which are to be required in candidates for the office, are 
prescribed, then the office is permanent. (4) And, finally, 
when it can be proved, historically, that an office has, in 
fact, been continued from the apostolic through all suc- 
ceeding ages. 

"6. That the officers, thus ascertained to be permanent, 
are ministers of the word, ruling elders, and deacons. 

"7. That, as there is no class of officers above the pres- 
byters, no gifts higher than those which constitute a 
minister of the word, presbyters are the highest perma- 
nent officers of the church, and stand all on the same level ; 
all have the same office and the same prerogatives. This 
is the parity of the clergy. There are no apostles, no 
prophets, and, of course, no prelates. 

''8. That the right of the people, to take part in the 
government of the church, is exercised through their rep- 
resentatives, the ruling elders. Here is the principle of 
representation, and here is the foundation of the peculiar 
character of our church courts. They are composed of 
two elements, a lay and clerical, ministers and elders. 
This representation of the people is, first, in the session, 
then in the presbytery, then in the synod, and then in 
the General Assembly. In all, the elders have the same 
right with the ministers to participate in the exercise of 
all the powers of the church — executive, legislative, and 
judicial. They are in our courts, not by courtesy, not by 
human ordinance, but by divine right. 

"9. That, as the Spirit of God, dwelling in all believers, 
makes them one body ; as the " command to obey our 
brethren in the Lord is not limited to those brethren who 
may belong to the same congregation with ourselves ; as it 
is not founded on mere proximity, nor on any mutual cov- 
enant, but on the fact that they are our brethren, in whom 
the Spirit dwells, therefore, the church is one ; therefore, 
a smaller part is subject to a larger, a larger to the whole, 
a session to the presbytery, a presbytery to the synod, and 
the synods to the General Assembly. 

"This is my Presbyterianism. T am not ashamed of it. 


I am willing to avow it here and elsewhere, and stand or 
fall by it.""^ 

Such Avas the great debate at Rochester, IST. Y., on the 
board question, between the respective representatives of 
what was soon to become the Northern Presbyterian 
Church and the Southern Presbyterian Church. The 
question debated was in this form : ''-Resolved, That it is 
inexpedient to make any organic change in the organiza- 
tion of the Board of Domestic Missions." It is always 
an awkward thing to debate a negative proposition, and so 
it is always both awkward and confusing to vote upon a 
resolution that is at once negative and equivocal. ISTever- 
theless, the majority of the Assembly preferred that form 
of the question, and the minority yielded to them this 
great advantage. So the vote stood, yeas, 234; nays, 56. 
But this vote did not fairly exhibit the real state of 
opinion in the Assembly, which is sufficiently proved by 
the subsequent action of the body in resolutions adopted 
in order to conform the boards to the views and wishes of 
the minority. 

The first of these required every member of the board 
to be made aware of his membership by a formal letter 
from the secretary, and also to be informed of the times 
of the regular meetings of the board ; and also, when a 
special meeting Avas required, of the date and business of 
the proposed meeting. 

The second required every board to send up to the As- 
sembly, with its annual report, its own book of minutes, 
and also the minutes of its executive committee's meetings 
for the examination of the Assembly. 

The third made it unlawful to issue honorary member- 
ships for money. 

The fourth refused, by a large majority, to appoint any 
travelling secretary. 

Besides these resolutions, which wore adopted by the 
Assembly, there was a motion, by the Hon. eludge Lord, 
of Oswego, to reduce the number of the board one-half, 
namely, from ninety-six to forty-eight members, but, on 
the plea that many members of the Assembly had already 
departed, the dissolution of the body being so near at 
hand, this motion was laid on the table. 


Let it also be observed that after the war, the Okl and 
Xew School Assemblies were reunited at the ISTorth, and 
that, upon this event, there was a total revolution of the 
board system, and, while the name of board was retained, 
it came to be the very executive committee of some twelve 
or fifteen members, for which the minority had con- 

Finally, Dr. Hodge, evidently much dissatisfied with 
the efiiciency of his argument at Rochester, notwithstand- 
ing he was sustained by the majority, went home and re- 
newed the discussion in written form in the pages of the 
Princeton Review. Dr. Thornwell, immediately after 
the Assembly, had gone to Europe for the summer. On 
his return, finding that Dr. Hodge had reopened the de- 
bate through the press, and being himself master both of 
written and spoken words, replied through the Southern 
Presbyterian Review of January, 1861. The reader will 
find Dr. Hodge's written argument in the fourth volume 
of ThornweU's Collected Writings, where we have also 
given place to Dr. Smyth's defence of church boards. 

The Eldek Controversy. 

If the board controversy was a sort of remainder from 
the original controversy between the Old and the ISTew 
School Presbyterians, so also did the elder controversy 
necessarily follow that about the boards. This subject of 
the ruling elder first came before the Assembly of 1842, 
I know not how, and was passed over as unfinished busi- 
ness to the next. The Assembly of 1843 took up this un- 
finished business, but the discussion which followed 
evinced great confusion in the minds of the speakers gen- 
erally on both sides. It was finally resolved that ^'any 
three ministers constitute a legal quorum of a presbytery 
without the presence of any ruling elder," and also "that 
ruling elders may not join with ministers in the ordina- 
tion of a minister." Respecting this decision of the As- 
sembly, Breckinridge writes to his friend, Thornwell, in 
July, 1843, expressing his "distress and mortification at 
the result of the matter about ruling elders, in the last 
Assembly." He says, "I knew the church was not ready 
for the question ; but I had no conception of the extent 


of its ignorance and false principles. I had no hand in 
bringing on the question there, none in bringing it up; 
and desired its discussion put off. Last year (1842), 
when I was in the Assembly, they put it off, rather than 
hear me on it ; this year they would not hear of delay." 
But in the fall of 1843, he delivered before the Synod of 
Philadelphia, in Baltimore, two masterly arguments on 
the two points, so unhappily decided by the previous As- 
sembly. 'J^hese great speeches were, of course, thoroughly 
prepared beforehand, but they were speeches indeed, not 
written out and memorized. In a letter to his friend, of 
date JSTovember 27th, he says, "I have been very busy for 
the last two weeks, in all odd times, writing out my argu- 
ment, delivered before our Synod, on the quorum of a 
presbytery ; and am about to write out that on the ques- 
tion of ordination." He adds, "I have written them out 
at the request of the large majority of the ruling elders 
of this city (Baltimore). I consider the whole question 
of church order involved in the two propositions, and treat 
them accordingly ; for if jurisdiction or ordination be in 
the hands of preachers, as preachers, there is an end of 
Presbyterianism." These arguments subsequently ap- 
peared in The Presbyterian, a paper published in Phila- 
delphia, and a very large edition was put forth in pam- 
phlet form, with the significant title, "Presbyterian Gov- 
ernment not a Hierarchy, but a Commonwealth, and Pres- 
byterian Ordination not a Charm, but an Act of Govern- 
ment." They are not now accessible to students of this 
subject — would that they were ! But Dr. Thornwell's re- 
view of them in the Southern Presbyterian Review, Vol. 
II. J makes frequent quotations, and will give any reader 
an idea of their value, and this review may be found in 
the fourth volume of ThorniuelV s Collected Writings. 
Thus it came to pass that, as Dr. Thornwell first brought 
on the controversy about boards at Augusta, in 1840, so 
it may be properly stated that his eminent friend made, 
b}^ these two arguments, the real beginning of the con- 
troversy on the ruling eldership question. 

Dr. Breckinridge considers the whole question of 
church order involved in his two propositions. Dr. 
Palmer says, "They go to the very core of our Presby- 


terian system;" and the discussion upon them was far 
more earnest and long continued than that previously 
maintained on the subject of boards. It has resulted, so 
far as the Southern Presbyterian Church is concerned, in 
the complete establishment of sound scriptural views re- 
specting the matter. 

These speeches of Dr. Breckinridge are not before me, 
and they are, in fact, out of print ; but I remember well, 
having carefully studied them, how elaborate, instructive, 
satisfactory, as well as eloquent, they are. But they oc- 
cupy many pages, and Dr. Thornwell's review of them 
extends through seventy more. I make no attempt to 
present to the reader in full the contents of this very 
learned and luminous review. I endeavor only a very 
brief account of the way in which he presents the argu- 
ment of his friend, and then proceeds to add thereto some- 
what fully his own views of the subject. "The General 
Assembly decided that three ministers of any presbytery 
will constitute its quorum^ ; Dr. Breckinridge maintains 
that no court of the Presbyterian Church can be regularly, 
legally, or completely constituted without the presence 
of ruling elders as members thereof. The question is not 
as to the essential being of a presbytery, but as to its 
regularity, legality, and completeness. Ministers prop- 
erly ordained are presbyters ; a presbytery is a college of 
presbyters ; therefore, a presbytery, in extraordinary cir- 
cumstances, may be composed exclusively of ministers. 
On the same principle, as ruling elders, according to the 
scriptures, are presbyters, and, as a presbytery is nothing 
but a college of presbyters, it is equally obvious that a 

* '"Quorum," says Eouvier, in his law dictionary, "used substan- 
tively, signifies the number of persons belonging to a legislative 
assembly, a corporation, society or other body, required to transact 
business." The word is strictly Latin, the genitive plural of a pro- 
noun, and came into use as a common noun in our language from a 
clause in the second branch of the Commission of the Peace accus- 
tomed to be issued by the crown of England, in which the powers of 
justices, when assembled in sessions, are created and defined. The 
clause in question begins, "We have also assigned to you, and every 
two or more of you, of whom (quorum) any one of you, the afore- 
said A, B, C, D, etc., we will sliall be one." etc. 


true presbytery, in extraordinary circumstances, may be 
composed exclusively of ruling elders. In an unsettled or 
formative condition of the church, presbyter ial acts may, 
from the necessity of the case, be performed by courts de- 
fective in one or other of their constitutional elements. 
And yet these acts need not be despised as invalid. For 
four years after its formation, the first presbytery of the 
Secession Church of Scotland, the presbytery of Erskine, 
Fisher, Moncrieff, and Wilson, consisted only of these 
four ministers. But, to affirm that because a court con- 
sisted exclusively of ministers, may, in extraordinary cir- 
cumstances, be acknowledged a valid presbytery, there- 
fore, in a settled church state, such a court is to be treated 
as legitimate and proper, carries with it no force that 
cannot be applied equally %vell to the case of a body of 
ruling elders without the presence of a teaching elder. 

"The real point in dispute, therefore, is whether, in a 
settled church state, or under the operation of our o^vn 
system, a classical or synodical assembly can ever be legit- 
imately constituted without the presence of ruling elders. 
This question may appear to be very minute, but, as Dr. 
Breckinridge observes, the ultimate principle involved is 
one of the most important and comprehensive that could 
be submitted to the people of God. It is the question 
whether the final power and actual authority are in the 
hands of preachers as such, or of the body of the Chris- 
tian people to be exercised through officers regularly 
elected by them. This is, indeed, a question whose fear- 
ful scope is manifest upon every page of the history of 

Dr. Thornwell's first argument against the decision of 
the Assembly is that "it contradicts the whole analogy 
of Presbyterian polity. That polity constitutes our 
church a commonw^ealth. But the full force of this state- 
ment is generally misapprehended." Dr. Thornwell re- 
fers to the noble panegyric that Milton pronounces upon 
a free commonwealth as "the noblest, the manliest, the 
equalest, the justest government, the most agreeable to 
all due liberty and proportionate equality," etc. But he 
proceeds to pronounce the scheme of Milton as grossly de- 
fective, in that the highest council of his republic was to 


be a permanent assembly. Thornwell explains how that 
great man came to make this blunder, ''but, while Mil- 
ton's mode of applying the principle of representation is 
to be condemned, he clearly perceived upon what its pe- 
culiar value depends. Its excellence consists in the prob- 
ability it furnishes that reason only shall sway. The 
danger of democracy is from the passions and the igno- 
rance of the people; the danger of monarchy from the 
caprices, the tyranny, and the ambition of the king ; and 
the danger of an oligarchy, from the selfishness incident 
to privileged orders. Reason, whose voice is the will of 
God, is much more likely to prevail in a deliberative as- 
sembly constituted of the real representatives of the peo- 
ple. It is a great mistake to suppose that the end of gov- 
ernment is to accomplish the will of the people. The 
state is a divine ordinance, a social institute founded on 
the principle of justice. It has great moral purposes to 
subserve. The will of the people should be done only 
when the people will what is right. The representative 
principle is a check upon their power, an expedient to re- 
strain what would otherwise be an intolerable despotism. 
There is no misapprehension more dangerous than that 
which confounds representative government with the 
essential principle of a pure democracy. It is not because 
the whole people cannot meet, but because they ought not 
to meet, that the representative council, in modern times, 
is preferred to the ancient convocations in the forum or 
the market-place. Power has a natural tendency to 
settle into despotism; and the legitimate ends of the 
state may be as completely defeated by the absolute power 
of the people as by the absolute power of a single ruler. 
Absolute power is tyranny, whether in the hands of large 
masses, of privileged orders, or of single individuals." 

Dr. Thornwell next points out two conditions which 
must belong to the full and proper use of the representa- 
tive system: the representative must have an accurate 
knowledge of the people's circumstances and wants, and 
he must also have a fixed purpose to aim at the collective 
interests of the whole body. To this end the election of 
representatives is to be entrusted to small communities ; 
and each representative is not to be simply the organ of a 


narrow section, but the representative of all sections col- 
lectively. There must also be checks imposed on these 
assemblies themselves. Accordingly, the freest modern 
States have adopted the principle of two chambers, be- 
longing to different classes. This is a vast improvement 
upon the single council of Milton. It is, perhaps, as 
great an improvement upon the representative principle 
as the representative principle itself was upon that of 
deputies in the Middle Ages. Now, the description which 
has just been given of a commonwealth in the state is an 
exact picture, in its essential features, of Presbyterian 
government in the church. The very principles which 
the progress of modern society has developed, were found 
imbedded in the Presbytei'ian system ages before a truly 
representative republic existed upon earth. 

The first characteristic principle of our system is the 
government of the church by free representative assem- 
blies. This distinguishes us from prelacy on the one 
hand, and Independency on the other. Ours is a govern- 
ment, not by presbyters, but by presbyteries ; and if we 
deny that such assemblies are essential to our system, we 
deny, at the same time, that our system is a common- 

In the next place, Dr. Thornwell proceeds to show how, 
in the composition of our assemblies, the principle of two 
chambers is introduced. This end is accomplished by two 
classes of representatives. The ministers are a check upon 
the elders, and the elders are a check upon the ministers. 
Moreover, our higher courts are a check upon the lower. 
A government, exclusively in the hands of ministers, is 
fraught with danger to them and to the people, against 
which all ecclesiastical history is a solemn warning. Such 
assemblies might give the church the form of a common- 
wealth, but the spirit of liberty would soon depart. The 
possession of power would produce its natural effects, the 
ministry would aspire to be a privileged class, and the 
people would soon lose all the significance and importance 
which our system attaches to them. On the other hand, 
a government exclusively in the hands of the elders, 
would lean too much to popular will. Identified com- 
pletely with their own people, they might be tempted to 


aim at local and sectional advantages, thus regarding 
themselves as mere deputies, instead of representatives. 
But, with our double representation, clerical despotism 
and popular passion are equally discouraged. We can- 
not, therefore, attach too much importance to the office 
of ruling elder in its relation to our church courts. Upon 
it the security of our liberties mainly depends ; it is 
the principal means, under God, of making the church, 
not only a commonwealth, but a free commonwealth, 
the "'noblest, manliest, justest, equalest" government on 

Then Dr. Thornwell makes plain that the Presbyte- 
rianism Avhich the Assembly has sanctioned, is a maimed 
and partial thing — as different from that of our standards 
and the standards of all the Presbyterian Churches as a 
statue is different from a man. The form of a common- 
wealth may exist under it, and will continue to exist as 
long as the ministers are pastors, but the vitality is gone, 
the arteries of the body become withered and dried the 
very moment ruling elders, fresh from the people, with 
feelings, habits, and interests, which identify them with 
their constituents, are removed from our courts. 

''This, then," says Dr. Thornwell, ''is our first argu- 
ment. The resolution of the Assembly contradicts the 
whole analogy of our government ; it mars the perfection 
of our representative system ; it removes one of its most 
important securities, and leaves the church in the hands 
of rulers who are least acquainted with the details of its 
interests, and strongly tempted in the absence of salutary 
checks, to pursue abstractions, or to exalt themselves into 
a privileged class. . . . When we consider the mul- 
titude of ministers without charge, the facility of in- 
creasing their number, and the lax discipline which 
permits them to exercise the full power of scriptural 
bishops, the danger seems to us more than imaginary, 
which threatens the balance of our system when elders 
are treated as comparatively unimportant. ... To 
dispense with elders in the assemblies of the church is to 
sever the cords which bind the hearts of our people to 
their government, and to prepare the way for converting 
a free, vigorous and healthful commonwealth into a sa- 


cred aristocracy. Perpetual vigilance is the price of 

There are other arguments, of striking force, with 
which Dr. Thornwell evinces how greatly the Assembly 
erred on the quorum question. But it is time to proceed 
to his review of Dr. Breckinridge's second speech. This 
concerns the right of ruling elders to lay on hands in 
the ordination of a minister, which the Assembly 
of 1843 denied. The Assembly of 1844 reaffirmed 
the decision of its predecessor, pronounced ordina- 
tion to be a '' rite," and treated it simply as " a de- 
claratory ministerial act." The point in dispute, there- 
fore, involved the very nature of ordination. In the 
course of the controversy, two distinct issues had l^een pre- 
sented, namely, whether ordination is an act of the power 
of jurisdiction, and is therefore joint and not several, 
or whether it l)elongs to the power of order, and therefore 
to be performed only by those who have power to ordain 
a minister. It was generally conceded that ordination 
belongs to a court ; but, upon this supposition that it is 
an act of government, the question was, whether there be 
not something so peculiar in it that the only rulers who 
are competent to execute it are ministers themselves. 
Still it was felt that there was nothing analogous in it to 
preaching, nor to the administration of the sacraments, 
nor to any other function which pertained to ministers, 
in their individual relations, as preachers of the word. 
Then it became a question whether, supposing it be- 
longed to the court, still tlie administration of it ought 
not to be confined to those members of the court who pos- 
sessed the office to which the candidate was about to be set 
apart. This, as I interpret Dr. Thornwell's language, is 
about the form in which the subject was first apprehended 
by the General Assembly of 1843. 

There were two leading grounds on which the doctrine 
of the Assend)ly of 1843 was defended. First, that ordi- 
nation confers ministerial authority, is a sort of spiritual 
generation of spiritual teachers, and, therefore, can be 
bestowed only by those who already possess it, upon the 
obvious principle that a man cannot give to others what he 
has not himself. Secondly, that ordination pertains only 


-to scriptural presbyters, and that, as ruling elders are not 
the presbyters of scripture, they have no right to unite 
with the presbytery in the performance of a strictly pres- 
byterial act. This seems to us to have been the state of 
the controversy when the Assembly of 1844 met. That 
Assembly made another issue, by denying that ordination 
is an act of government at all, by pronouncing it to be a 
rite, and by referring it to the category of order rather 
than jurisdiction. In every aspect of the case, the char- 
acteristic principles of our system w^ere involved. It was 
certainly a matter of some moment to determine what 
ordination is. The consequence attached to it by pre- 
latists and papists, the bitter controversies it has occa- 
sioned in the church, and its obvious relations to the 
authority and duties of the ministry, required that we 
should at least be settled in our own views as to what 
constitutes its essence. Our church ought to have a defi- 
nite testimony; and yet their recent agitations had re- 
vealed the melancholy fact that, upon this whole subject, 
our language to each other, to other churches, and to the 
world, was as confused and contradictory as the dialects 
of Babel. It was also a matter of some moment that the 
office of ruling elder should be clearly apprehended. Was 
he a mere deputy of the people, clothed w^ith delegated 
power, and only the organ of the constituents who elect 
him ? Or was he an oliicer, divinely appointed, clothed 
with jurisdiction by the authority of God, and elected by 
the people to discharge the duties which Christ had con- 
nected with his office ? Was he, or w^as he not, the presby- 
ter of the scriptures ? These surely were not slight ques- 
tions ; they affected the very heart of our system ; and, 
in deciding them, we settled the distinctive principles of 
our government. We are, therefore, required to say 
whether we believe, with the papists, that ordination is a 
sacrament; with the prelatists, that it belongs to the 
power of order ; with the Independents, that it belongs to 
the people ; or with the great body of the Reformed 
church, that it belongs to the power of jurisdiction, is an 
act of government, and must be administered by the legit- 
imate courts of God's house. We are required to say 
whether ruling elders are lawful members of ecclesiastical 


courts, are tlie presbyters of scripture, or are mere iri- 
trnders into congregational, classical, and synod ical as- 
semblies. We are required, in other words, to say whether 
we are Presbyterians or not. 

The points, which Dr. Breckinridge discusses in the 
speech before us, are, ''that the whole work of the ordina- 
tion of ministers of the word belongs regularly and prop- 
erly to a presbytery composed of preaching and ruling 
elders ; and that the presbytery, which should impose 
hands, is the same as that which performs all the rest of 
the work of ordination." His doctrine, in other words, is 
that ordination is an act of government, and appropriately 
belongs to the rulers of God's house judicially convened, 
that it is the exercise of joint, and not of several power, 
and cannot be restricted to one class of elders more than 
to another. Every elder, who is a member of the court, 
whether he be a preacher or not, may participate in the 
execution of the act. 

"This speech, like the former," says Dr. Thornwell, 
"may be divided into three parts. The first presents 
what may be called the constitutional argument ; the 
second illustrates the propriety and fitness of the provis- 
ions of our standards, on which the constitutional argu- 
ment depends j and the third is devoted to the doctrine of 
other churches, in reference to the point in dispute, as 
this doctrine is gathered from the authorized symbols of 
their faith. Any language which should at all be pro])or- 
tioned to our convictions of the ability with which these 
topics are discussed, would, to those who have never in- 
vestigated the subject, seem to be extravagant. 

Dr. Thornwell continues : "It seems to us that the op- 
position to Dr. Breckinridge's theory arises from a two- 
fold error ; the first having reference to the nature of 
ordination itself, and the second to the office of the ruling 
elder. What, then, is ordination ? 

"In the first place, the very term itself obviously im- 
plies, what every definition, whether Protestant or Papal, 
Prelatic, Presbyterian, or Congregational, assumes, as a 
conceded proposition, that the ministry of the gospel is 
an ordo. Ordination has evidently some relation to this 
ordo, and our views of this relation must depend upon 


our previous conceptions of the source and nature of that, 
whatever it is, which constitutes the essence of the order. 

"According' to Kome, three sacraments — baptism, con- 
firmation, and orders — impress an indelible character on 
the soul. This character, whatever it is, which the sac- 
rament of orders confers, constitutes the difference be- 
tween the clergy and the laity. There is a mark upon the 
souls of the one which is not found upon the souls of the 
other. Orders communicate the power as a personal and 
substantive possession, to distribute to others the blessings 
of the covenant. In correspondence with this view of 
the nature of the order, Rome teaches that ordination is 
a sacrament, and, as a sacrament, actually impresses the 
indelible character which distinguishes the priesthood. 
It is that which makes a man a priest, the only divine call- 
ing which can justify a creature in ministering at the 
altar. His ordination and his commission from above 
are one and the same thing. 

'^According to the Church of England, Hooker, author 
of the Ecclesiastical Polity, being our authority, 'minis- 
terial power,' which he does not scruple to call a mark or 
a character, acknowledged to be indelible, 'is a mark of 
separation, because it severeth them that have it from 
other men, and maketh them a special order, consecrated 
unto the service of the Most High in things wherewith 
others may not meddle.' As in the church of Rome, so in 
this Protestant communion, ordination is the only valid 
commission which a man can legitimately plead to ad- 
minister the ordinances of God. 'Canonical ordination,' 
says Hooker, 'in the church of Christ, is that which makes 
a lawful minister.' The very words which the bishop 
employs at ordination are conclusive proof that ordina- 
tion is regarded as the real communication of a divine 
warrant to discharge the duties of a minister. It creates 
a right to the ordo. It impresses the character or bestows 
the power which is distinctive of the rank; so that the 
relation of ordination to the ordo, in the churches of 
England and Rome, is essentially the same. Their 
bishops undertake, in the name of God, to call and com- 
mission the ministry for its work. 

''But, according to our doctrine, and the doctrine of the 


great body of the Reformed clnirclies of Europe, the right 
to the ministerial office depends npon the calling of God. 
A divine vocation, imparting a spiritual fitness for the 
work, is the only mark or character which distinguishes 
the ministry from every other class of men. Those gifts 
of the Holy Ghost, that heavenly and powerful unction, 
by which God qualifies his agents for the positions to 
which he has assigned them, are the only badges of the 
order which the scriptures lead us to recognize. Hence, 
upon our principles, ordination must sustain a very dif- 
ferent relation to the ordo from that which is ascribed to 
it in the churches of England and Rome. As with us, it 
is God, through the Spirit, who imparts the ministerial 
commission, and conveys the right to discharge the duties 
of the office, as God, and God alone, can communicate the 
distinctive qualities of the ordo^ ordination, with us, can 
only be an acknowledgment of the fact that a man is a 
minister of God, and entitled to rule and to teach in his 
church. We do not undertake to put into the hands of 
ministers their divine warrant for their work; we only 
receive and set our seal to the credentials which God has 
given. Presbyterian ordination imparts nothing, whether 
character, power, grace, or privilege. It is neither a 
charm nor a commission ; it is a simple acknowledgment 
of what God has done. God has appointed ordination as 
a public recognition, on the part of his cliurch, of the 
rights which he has supernaturally conferred. It is the 
established mode in Avhich it is made to appear that he 
has called and anointed the subject of it for the work of 
the ministry. 

"Such we apprehend to be the nature of Presbyterian 
ordination ; and every other hypothesis, as it seems to us, 
must proceed upon the assumption of prelatists and 
papists, that it is in the power of man to communicate 
the distinctive peculiarities of the ministerial order. 
Every other doctrine must make ordination the commis- 
sion of the ministry. The mystical jargon about the 
transmission of authority, the communication of power, 
the delegation of office, is essentially prelatic; and we 
can conceive of no theory of ordination which renders it 
incompatible for an elder to partake in it, which does not 


assume that its relation to the ordo is that for which pre- 
latists and Eomanists contend. 

"The other error rehites to the nature of the office of 
the ruling elder. It is becoming common to represent it, 
not as the immediate appointment and institution of 
Christ, the only King and Head of the church, but as the 
creature of the people, possessed of no other powers but 
those which thej have chosen to entrust to it. The elder 
can do nothing but what the people themselves might do. 
Christ gave them the power of jurisdiction, and they 
transfer it to the elder. According to this extraordinary 
theory, the people, in mass, might constitute, in connec- 
tion with the ministry, the various judicial assemblies 
of the church. This makes our church government to be 
an odd mixture of an elective aristocracy, the clergy, and 
a pure democracy, the people. But this theory is abso- 
lutely false, unsupported by a single text of scripture or 
a single doctrine of our standards. It is a new thing 
under the sun, to maintain the judicial power of the peo- 
ple. Christ has not committed the government of the 
church into their hands directly. The language of our 
law is as clear and explicit as language can be made. 'The 
Lord Jesus, as King and Head of the church, hath therein 
appointed a government in the hands of church officers.'' 
Xot a word is said about the right of the people to co- 
operate in all acts of discipline and government. To these 
officers, and not directly to the people, are committed the 
keys of the kingdom of heaven. This doctrine is largely 
declared in various passages of our standards. Such also' 
is the doctrine of Owen, which we recognize to be the 
true doctrine of the scriptures, that 'all church power in 
acta primo, or fundamentally, is in the church itself; in 
actii secundo, or its exercise, in them that are especially 
called thereunto.' 'He hath instituted,' says this great 
man, 'and appointed the offices themselves, and made a 
grant of them unto the church for its edification, as also 
he hath determined and limited the powers and duties of 
the officers. It is not in the power of any, or of all the 
churches in the world, to appoint any office, or officer, in 
the church that Christ hath not appointed.' In the com- 
munication of church power in office unto any person 

400 :\rY life axd times. 

calkMJ thereimto, the work and duty of the church consist, 
formally, in acts of obedience unto the commands of 
Christ. Hence it doth not give unto such officers a power 
or authority that was formally and actually in the body 
of the community, by virtue of any grant or law of Christ, 
so as that they should receive and act the power of the 
church by virtue of a delegation from them ; but only 
they design, choose, set apart, the individual persons, who 
thereon are entrusted with office power by Christ hims(df, 
according as was before declared. 

''This error, that the people, and not Christ, are the 
direct and immediate source of all the power and author- 
ity committed to the office of ruling elder, has arisen from 
a total misapprehension of the title with which they dis- 
tinguish him, the representative of the people. A repre- 
sentative and a delegate are essentially distinct ; they 
differ, not merely, as Lord Brougham * seems to suppose, 
in the extent of the subjects on which they are authorized 
to act, but in the relation which they bear to those who 
elect them. The officers are radically and essentially dis- 
tinct. A deputy is simply the locum tenens of his prin- 
cipal, the creature of instructions, which he cannot con- 
sistently transcend^ — a substitute, and nothing more. A 
representative, on the other hand, is a confidential agent, 
pursuing the dictates of his own understanding, and 
bound to act in conformity with his own private convic- 
tions of right. A deputy is an organ through whom the 
will of his constituents is declared ; a representative de- 
liberates and acts for his constituents, and upon his own 
personal responsibility must endeavor to promote the true 
interests of the people, whatever may be their temporary 
whims or caprices. Burke was a noble representative, 
hut not a deputy, when he declared to the electors of Bris- 
tol, 'I did not obey your instructions ; no ! I conformed 
to the instructions of truth and nature and maintained 
your interest, against your opinions, with a constancy that 
became me ;' and Chatham understood the true nature of 
his office, though he mav have erred on a point of eti- 
quette, when he declined presenting a petition from his 
constituents of Bath. 

* Political Philosophy. Vol. III., Clia]). vi., p. 31. 


"Representative government is a different kind of gov- 
ernment from a pure democracy. It is essentially a limi- 
tation upon the people ; they choose representatives, be- 
cause it is not safe that they themselves should discharge 
the functions of legislators or rulers. In human govern- 
ments, the power of representatives may, for the most 
part, be ultimately traced to the people, as this whole sys- 
tem of polity is generally, though not always, the off- 
spring of popular will. In establishing this species of 
government, the people create the office of representative, 
define its powers, specify its duties, and settle its rights. 
They form a constitution, the very object of which is to 
prevent the accumulation of too much power in their own 
hands, to restrain the supremacy of their o^vn will, and to 
check the tendencies of absolute authority to abuse and 
tyranny. This constitution, once fixed, is the immediate 
source of all power to all the representatives chosen under 
it ; to it, and to it alone, must they appeal for a knowledge 
of their rights, privileges and duties. It, and not the will 
of tliose who elect them, becomes their law. Their rela- 
tions to the constitution, which equally binds them and 
their constituents, render it absurd that they should be 
treated as mere organs, machines, or automatons, through 
which others act. It deserves, further, to be remarked 
that, in all organized states, in which the representative 
principle is a part of the constitution, the representatives 
possess powers and discharge functions to which their 
constituents, as a mass, can lay no claim, putting it, in 
this way, beyond all doubt that a representative and 
deputy are fundamentally distinct. 

"In the church, the representative government is not, 
as in the state, even ultimately the creature of the people ; 
it is the direct appointment of Christ, and the powers 
and duties of ecclesiastical representatives are prescribed 
and defined in the word of God, the real constitution of 
the church. They are represented as rulers, and not as 
tools ; they are to study and administer the laws of the 
Saviour, and not bend to the caprices of the people ; and 
they are to listen to no authoritative instructions but 
those which have proceeded from the throne of God. 
Ohrist never gave to the people, as a mass, any right to 


exercise jurisdiction, or to administer discipline. Thej 
cannot appear in session or presbytery. It is not only in- 
convenient that they should be there in their collective ca- 
pacity, but they have no right to be there. The privilege 
of their attentling as members, as component elements of 
the court, would be destructive of all the ends which rep- 
resentation is designed to secure ; it would subvert the 
whole system of government. The business of the people 
is to elect the men who give sufficient evidence that they 
are fitted by the Spirit to fill the offices which Christ has 
appointed. 'This is the power and right given unto the 
church, essentially considered with respect unto their 
officers, namely, to design, call, choose, and set apart the 
persons by the ways of Christ's appointment unto those 
offices whereimto by his laws he hath annexed church 
power and authority.' These men represent the people, 
because they are the choice of the people. The term rep- 
resentative, therefore, is equivalent to chosen ruler ; it 
designates the manner in which the office is acquired, and 
not the source of its powers. When elders, consequently, 
are styled in our standards the representatives of the peo- 
ple, it is a total misapprehension to suppose that the 
meaning intended to be conveyed is that they are the- 
deputies or delegates of the people, occupying a position 
and exercising powers which the people themselves might 
occupy and exercise. The title imports nothing more than 
that they are the persons whom the people have selected, 
as dul_^6 qualified and called of God, to perform the func- 
tions which Christ has enjoined upon the rulers of his 
house. The people, as such, possess not a single element 
of the potestas jurisdictlonis which pertains to the elders 
and the courts of the church." 

Dr. Thornwell now proceeds to say that from the fore- 
going ex])lanation of the term representative it is per- 
fectly obvious that pastors, by which word he means min- 
isters, are as truly representatives of tlie people as are 
ruling elders. The reason why the title representatives^ 
is not given to them, as well as to tlie ruling elders, is 
that they have other duties unconnected with the govern- 
ment of the cliurch, so that this title cannot be a complete 
description of their office, as it is of the elder's office. Be- 


tliis as it may, the scriptures and our standards expressly 
teach that the ruling elder is strictly and properly a pres- 
byter, and, therefore, entitled to j)iii"ticipate in all acts in 
which any presbyter, as such, can bear a part. 

But elaborate efforts have been made to prove that the 
elder is not properly a presbyter, this term being re- 
stricted to preachers, to preachers as such, and to preach- 
ers exclusively. Dr. Thornwell well says that the mani- 
fest effect of this theory is to invalidate the arguments for 
the divine appointment of the office drawn from the nat- 
ural meaning of the title, the acknowledged constitution 
of the Jewish synagogue, and the plurality of elders con- 
fessedly ordained in the apostolic churches. "When these 
points are abandoned," says Dr. Thornwell, "we know of 
nothino' stronger or clearer that shall be left from which a 
scriptural warrant for our system can be deduced. To us 
they seem to have been consistent, who, when they had 
proved that the ruling elder was not a presbyter, M^ere 
prepared to abolish the office as a human contrivance, and 
an unnecessary appendage to the church." His reference 
here is to a somewhat celebrated article published, in Dr. 
Hodge's Princeton Review, shortly previous to the Gen- 
eral Assembly at Rochester, in 1860, which article was 
expressly abjured in that Assembly by Dr. McGill, and 
the responsibility for which Dr. Hodge himself after- 
wards made very significant and very earnest efforts to 

Dr. Thornwell concludes his review of Dr. Breckin- 
ridge's sermon by showing that it is at once the doctrine 
of our standards and the word of God, that presbyter, as 
a title of office, means a ruler, and nothing more than a 
ruler. He enters into a very thorough examination of the 
question, ou what ground is the minister of the word 
styled a presbyter ? That this word, presbyter, is not 
synonymous with preacher, he demonstrates at length, in 
the use of both learning and logic. I cannot copy his 
demonstration, nor am I able to condense it, but I com- 
mend it to the scholarly inquirer's careful attention. 

In this attempt to write a history of the controversy 
about elders in the Presbyterian Church, before it Avas 
necessarily divided by the war of 1861-1865, I have 


chosen to regard Dr. Hodge as the leader and representa- 
tive of one side of that controversy. Drs. Breckinridge 
and Thornwell were leaders on the other side. As Dr. 
diaries Hodge was, perhaps, the greatest, so also he was 
the latest advocate of the theory which denies that ruling 
elders are true and proper presbyters. This Presbyterian 
controversy ended in the Northern church, so far as I 
know, with the Assembly at Rochester, in 1860. For in 
what then became the Southern church, ''kno^^^l officially 
as the Presbyterian Church in the United States," very 
little, if any, general controversy about the elder ever 

Evidently dissatisfied with the exhibition he had made 
as a Presbyterian in the memorable debate on the l)i)ard 
question, in which he had led one side, Dr. Hodge subse- 
quently read to the Assembly at Rochester a carefully 
prepared statement of his Presbyterianism, as I have 
stated in the preceding pages. I here insert from that 
statement two paragraphs, seven and eight, which give his 
views of the elder question. They will set before the 
reader very comprehensively the ideas that prevailed 
amongst the party which he led. Here is paragraph num- 
ber seven : 

"7. That, as there is no class of officers above the pres- 
byters, no gifts higher than those which constitute a min- 
ister of the word, presbyters are the highest permanent 
officers of the church, and stand all on the same level ; all 
have the same office and the same prerogatives. This is 
the parity of the clergy. There are no apostles, no 
prophets, and, of course, no prelates." 

This paragraph is levelled against the claims of Epis- 
copal prelates. In other words, it states the doctrine of 
the parity of all ministers of the word, whom it calls the 
"clergy" — a word no Presbyterian ought ever to apply in 
this way. Speaking of these ministers of the word, and 
of them alone, ])r. Hodge says, "Presbyters are the high- 
est permanent officers of the church, and stand all on the 
same level ; all have the same office and the same pre- 
rogatives." Here he sets himself and his party against 
Paul, in 1 Timothy v. 17, where the apostle divides pres- 
byters into two classes, one of which only "rule well." 


But the other, and the higher, class labor also in the word 
and doctrine. 

Here is paragraph nnmber eight : 

*'8. That the right of the people to take part in the gov- 
ernment of the church, is exercised through their repre- 
sentatives, the ruling elders. Here is the principle of 
representation, and here is the foundation of the peculiar 
character of our church courts. They are composed of 
two elements — a lay and clerical — ministers and elders. 
This representation of the people is, first, in the session, 
then in the presbytery, then in the synod, and then in the 
General Assembly. In all, the elders have the same right 
with the ministers to participate in the exercise of all the 
powers of the church — executive, legislative, and judicial. 
They are in our courts, not by courtesy, not by human 
ordinance, but of divine right." 

Thus, in paragraph number eight. Dr. Hodge asserts 
the right of the people to take part in the government of 
the church, through their representatives, the ruling 
elders. So then ''the clergy" are not representatives of 
the people, and the government of the church, it follows, 
is not all of it in the hands of the people through their 
representatives, but only a part of that government. In 
whose hands is the other part lodged ? Manifestly in the 
hands of "the clergy." Therefore, I denounced the use 
of that name as unpresbyterian and unprotestant. That 
name originated in the Romish idea that the Lord's "lot," 
that is, the Lord's cleros, or portion, was the priesthood. 
The}^ are the clergy, while the people are no part of the 
Lord's lot, but only sheep for the clergy to shear. These 
"clerg^'Tnen," if Dr. Hodge will give that name to min- 
isters of the word, are lords of the church, but they allow 
the people a part in this government, through their repre- 
sentatives, the ruling elders ! The ministers, it will be ob- 
served, are not representatives of the people, but the 
people's lords and masters! Here is Dr. Hodge's "prin- 
ciple of representation." Here is the "foundation of the 
peculiar character of our church courts !" There are two 
elements in these courts — one a lay element, the other a 
clerical. This certainly Avould make our church courts 
to be of a very peculiar character, but as certainly not 


a scriptural character. The officers whom Christ gives to 
be riders in the church, the ehkn-s, presbyters, or bishops, 
are not a "lay element," neither are they a "clerical ele- 
ment." Both classes of the office of elder (otherwise 
called presbyter or bishop) are rulers, and they are equal 
as rulers. But one of these classes has the superadded 
office of teaching, and, as to this office, the two classes are 
not equal, and are not entitled to the same degree of honor, 
according to apostolic statement. 

Dr. Ilodge starts out, in paragraph number seven, with 
such a use of the w^ord presbyter as confines it to his 
"clergy." But he closes up paragraph number eight with 
a full and complete acknowledgment that elders have the 
same right with ministers in all the courts, and that his 
laymen are equally of divine right with his "clergymen." 

To what straits is the author of this statement reduced 
upon his plan of setting forth that great foundation prin- 
ciple of our Presbyterian system — the principle of repre- 
sentation ! He perceived that he must not deny that the 
true and real church of God consists of free men, made 
free by the Son. As such, it must be a free Christian 
commonwealth, governed, under its divine Head, by his 
people, but not directly. The people are to rule through 
their own chosen representatives. Accordingly, Congre- 
gationalism, Avhicli is the direct government of the people, 
is to be rejected. On the other hand, neither prelates or 
popes are ever chosen by the people. What now remains ? 
Only the middle ground, set forth in scripture: the 
church is to be governed, now as from the beginning, by 
ruling elders, every one of whom is elected as their rep- 
resentative by the people. 

But the author of this statement is not willing to ac- 
knowledge ruling elders as true and proper presbyters. 
He wants to make "presbyter" mean "preacher." And 
so he insists that the elder, though chosen by God's people 
to be their ruler, is only a layman and must not be called 
a presbyter. He wants to make out of his presbyter what 
he calls a "clergyman." He wants what he calls his clergy 
to rule the church. So there is left to Christ's free people 
only a part in the representative government, and those 
who exercise this part of the representative government 


must still continue to be only laymen. Thus our church 
must have a mixed representation — one half lajanen, the 
other half clergymen — but no ruling elders and no min- 
isters of the word. And, as paragraph eight says, that 
the people's part in the government of the church "is ex- 
ercised through their representatives, the ruling elders," 
it follows that only the lay element represents the people, 
so that the clerical element must have the higher duty of 
representing the clergy. 

xVnd yet, after all these incongruous things have been 
said. Dr. Hodge's statement about the ruling elder con- 
cludes with the remarkable acknowledgment that "^'the 
elders have the same right with the ministers to partici- 
pate in the exercise of all the powers of the church — ex- 
ecutive, legislative, and judicial. They are in our courts, 
not by courtesy, not bv human ordinance, but of divine 

The reader will acknowledge that these final expres- 
sions of Dr. Hodge are very strong, although he makes 
the ruling elder only a layman. He will not let him be a 
true and proper presbyter, yet, by divine authority, he is 
entitled, as much as any minister, to participate in the ex- 
ercise of all church power — executive, legislative, and 
judicial ! Thus, as the result of the debate with his great 
antagonist, he is led to yield to the ruling elder all that 
has been claimed by the party he opposes. Had Dr. 
Hodge forgotten that, with all this church power in the 
ruling elder's hand, legislative, judicial, and executive, 
he has made him a necessary member of the presbytery's 
quorum, and given him the right to lay on hands in a 
minister's ordination ? 

It has been made very evident, as it seems to me, that 
the party represented by Dr. Hodge did not teach the old 
doctrine of genuine Presbyterianism. That doctrine, in 
its fullness, is as old as the 'New Testament epistles, while 
some of its parts can be traced backwards to the time of 
Moses, and even to the very beginning, for the church of 
God began to be at the very fall of Adam, while the ante- 
diluvian patriarchs may very justly be claimed to be 
elders that ruled. Next to the jSTew Testament epistles, 
we meet ruling elders, otherwise called presbyters and 


bishops, in the epistles of the three apostolic fathers, 
Clement, Polycarp, and Ignatius. Their history runs 
down through all the ages, as it is traced by Dr. Breckin- 
ridge, in his second great Baltimore speech, and by Dr. 
Thornwell, in his article entitled ''The Ruling Elder a 
Presbyter," to which the reader will find appended notes 
on this subject of special learning and value. (See Col- 
lected Writings, Vol. IV., pp. 115-131.) It is the doc- 
trine of Calvin, and all the Reformed churches ; of the 
Scotch church, as organized by Knox ; of the four great 
Scotch Presbyterian divines, who led the Westminster 
Assembly through its great work; of the Scotch and 
Scotch-Irish emigrants to this country, whom the Plan of 
Union vainly attempted to hybridize ; of old Dr. Samuel 
Miller, in his work on the ruling eldership. 

The new doctrine came into our church from the Con- 
gregationalists, who have given us many of their best men, 
and they naturally brought their own ideas of church gov- 
ernment with them, and engrafted them upon the 
churches of the North and Northwest. As for the emi- 
nent Dr. Hodge, he became especially a student of dog- 
matic theology, and made it very evident at Rochester 
that he had not studied church government. In fact, he 
seems to have held the doctrine of church government a 
matter of minor consideration — perhaps, naturally for 
one who devoted all his life to systematic theology. He 
manifested great surprise that Dr. Thornwell should have 
represented church order as much a matter of divine right 
as any other part of revelation. But, do we not know that 
order is, and from the very first has been, the guardian 
and protector of truth ? The very first revelations God 
made known to fallen man required to be thus protected, 
and Avere thus protected down till the time of Abraham. 
Accordingly, there was set apart one day in seven to be 
devoted to God's worship, and continually bloody sacri- 
fices were to be offered, and there were patriarchs to teach 
and maintain the truth. But there was no formally or- 
ganized church, separating the sons of God from the men 
of the world, and so revealed truth perished in all the 
earth. Abraham is then called, and the church formally 
set up in his solitary family. To its faithful care the 


revealed oracles were committed until the Messiah should 
appear. In this Abrahamic church, patriarchs continued 
to rule, and there were ruling elders, even wdien that 
church was in Egyptian bondage. To Abraham was also 
given circmncision, an external sign and seal for assur- 
ance to him of righteousness. Israel had also synagogues, 
precursors of our Christian congregations, constituting 
social worship all over the land from Sabbath to Sabbath. 
"Moses of old time had in every city them that preach 
him, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath day" 
(Acts XV. 21). They had "teaching priests," and "Levites 
to give the sense" of what was read. They had psalms 
for the singing of God's praises. The synagogue had its 
rulers from the beginning. It w^as they who called on 
Paul and Barnabas for the word of exhortation. By the 
help of such ordinances, the Abrahamic church, passing 
through the Mosaic economy, faithfully conserved reve- 
lation down to Christ. It was these by which the Lord 
fenced round his truth. This wall prevented the doctrine 
from being trampled down (Isaiah v. 2, 5). Christ 
comes to give his church its new and Christian form and 
name, and to entrust it with the care and promulgation 
of brighter, grander, and more important revelations of 
his truth. Did he furnish that church with no ordinances 
of divine right which were to be the bulwark and barrier 
of these truths ? The inspired apostles Christianized the 
synagogue, but added still higher and stronger defences 
of the truth than had been committed to it, Israel was 
under the bondage of rites and ceremonies. We have been 
set free by the Son, and we are free indeed. Office- 
bearers of a higher character are given to the Christian 
church. The services and worship of Israel were spirit- 
ual. Ours are intended and expected to be more spiritual. 
They kept the Jewish Sabbath. We enjoy the far more 
holy and blessed privilege of sanctifying the Lord's day, 
and of celebrating his resurrection, which is the pledge 
of ours. The Jews had the bloody sacrament of circum- 
cision. The Christian church has the baptism of water 
and the Spirit. They had the Passover, with its associa- 
tions of deliverance from the angel of death, as well as 
the power of Egypt. But we enjoy the Lord's supper, 


with its far more endearing remembrances, and its far 
more spiritual and heavenly hopes. Above all, they had 
set before them the straitening and compressing idea of 
their being God's peculiar people, closely shut in from 
intermarriage and all other kinds of intercommunion 
with the outside world. Indeed, they were required to 
kill off all the inhabitants that had preceded them in 
Canaan, lest they themselves should be corrupted, and 
also corrupt the truths committed to them. We are to 
have our hearts' deepest and tenderest s^mipathies aroused 
within us, and enthused by the most unselfish, heroic, and 
holiest aspirations through that last word of our Lord, 
"Go, make all men your brothers and my servants." 

Now, looking at all these Christian ordinances, and 
other effectual external influences, provided by the Lord 
to enable his church for her constant and watchful guar- 
dianship and dissemination of the glorious gospel com- 
mitted to her, is it not preposterous for any man to deny 
that order was revealed just as much as doctrine ? Do we 
not clearly perceive that our Saviour has taken particular 
care about the kinds of officers or agents he ordained for 
the adequate and exact transmission to succeeding gener- 
ations of the doctrines revealed by him to his church? 
This was a point to be specially guarded, and specially 
did our Lord guard it. We were not left, it is said, like 
children to be carried about by every wind of doctrine. 
The truths revealed to us were fenced against being over- 
run and trampled down by the sleight of men and cunning 
craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive. Xo, we 
have pastors and teachers provided, through whose double 
ministration we and our doctrine should be protected, so 
that we should grow up into him in all things, who is the 
Head, even Christ. 

But Dr. Ilodge maintained that order cannot be of 
divine right, like doctrine; such matters are left to our 
discretion, because we live in the dispensation of the 
Spirit. But, if in this dispensation of ours we enjoy, 
more than in the former, the guidance of the Spirit, does 
it not seem that less must be left to our discretion, rather 
than more? Does not the canon of revealed scripture 
close with a most solemn warning to anv man who shall 


add to or take away from the things written % Perhaps 
the Christian church has never suffered as much from any 
other one thing as from the religious inventions of human 
wisdom, and the profane interferences of human discre- 
tion with the arrana^ements of God. 

CHAPTER XII.— Part 2. 



SCIENCE is knowledge ; our English word answers to 
the old Greek word gnosis. The gnostics were the 
scientists of old, that is, the Txtiowing ones. The philos- 
ophers followed after the gnostics, but they chose a more 
modest title, for their name signifies only lovers of 

It would seem that the controversy of science with the 
Bible dates many centuries back. Scripture teachings 
were opposed nineteen hundred years ago by the Saddu- 
cees, disciples of the learned Sadoc. We all remember the 
elaborate argument they brought against our Saviour's 
doctrine' of the Innnan spirit and the resurrection of 
man's body, and how that argument became thin air as 
soon as touched by him. So also the same opposition of 
science to the Bible arose in Athens when certain philos- 
ophers of the Epicureans and the Stoics encountered 
Paul, reckoning him a babbler because he preached Jesus 
and the resurrection. But in point of fact, did not the 
opposition of science, falsely so called, really begin very 
much further back ? Did not our first mother derive from 
a very bad quarter a doctrine she believed to be true 
knowledge, so that though God had said, "You shall surely 
die," she was led to believe and profess "we shall not 
surely die ?" 

The Rev. William Ellison Boggs, D. D., 

Chancellor of the University of Georgia, in an unpub- 
lished essay I am allowed to use freely, raises the ques- 
tion, how far the Presbyterian creed in the Westminster 
standards or the Bible itself have been modified by the 
discoveries of modern physical science. He answers : Not 
at all. Certain popular opinions closely connected with 


the scriptures have been greatly modified, but these 
opinions are mere human theories not affecting the sub- 
stance of our divine religious belief. These popular no- 
tions relate to material things — the earth, sun, moon and 
stars, animals and plants — and the Bible is in nowise 
responsible for these theories. It teaches nothing at all 
in regard to them. Men gather these notions elsewhere 
and unconsciously read them into the Bible. Science, 
in sweeping away these figments leaves the word of God 
untouched and better comprehended, and the Chancellor 
insists that we therefore keep steadily in view the differ- 
ence between the word of God in the Bible, and its inter- 
pretations by uninspired men. All their opinions are 
liable to more or less of error ; but the sacred text itself as 
God gave it to men we hold to be infallibly true in every 
line and word. It may be added that all translations are 
of the nature of human interpretations, and when science 
in any of its branches can shed new light upon the true 
meaning of the sacred text, it deserves the thanks and not 
the reprobation of Christian readers. 

The Science of Zoology. 

Chancellor Boggs derives his first illustration from this 
science. The Hebrew term reem is translated unicorn 
in the English Bible, meaning a one-horned horse, an 
imaginary animal that never existed. It was long be- 
lieved to exist somewhere in the unexplored wilds of 
Asia. Probably, when the Septuagint translation was 
made, some two centuries before Christ, such an animal 
was believed in, and the Greek translators may have used 
the word "unicorn" to designate that belief. However, the 
science of zoology has since satisfied all intelligent men 
that no such horse-like animal could ever have existed. 
But there is one species of the rhinoceros which has one 
horn. But science has proved that the evidence at hand 
discourages the belief of the one-horned rhinoceros having 
been in Palestine within the human period. The descrip- 
tions of the unicorn in the Bible do not agree with the 
characteristics of the rhinoceros, but do exactly suit the 
•buffalo, which is plentiful even yet in Syria. And 
Smith's dictionary calls attention to the fact that our 


translation substitutes a plural "unicorns" for the singular 
"reem" in Deut. xxxiii. 17. "And his horns are like the 
horns of unicorns," as if each animal had but one horn, 
whereas the Hebrew reads, "His horns are like the horns 
of a ream!' showino; that one animal had two horns. And 
the marginal reading correctly says, "An unicorn." The 
Syrian buffalo in its wild state is evidently the creature 
referred to by the term unicorn. Thus the science of 
zoology has helped us to expurgate out of our revised Eng- 
lish Bible the error introduced by the old Greek transla- 
tion and followed by our King James' version. 

Chancellor Boggs proceeds to consider some of the 
scientific controversies which have marked the history of 

The Geogeaphical Controversy. 

He begins with the controversy which grew out of the 
modern geography, although this controversy was finished 
before our Westminster standards were written. The 
scriptures have occasion to refer to the earth, not to teach 
the science of geography, but to set before men the wis- 
dom, power and goodness of God. To teach these relig- 
ious lessons the Bible uses the current expressions of those 
times. There was no other way, unless it should invent 
terms of its own, which would have been incomprehen- 
sible to the people. Thus the scriptures speak of "the 
four corners of the earth" as we now speak of the four 
cardinal points of the compass. But when men began to 
reason about the shape of the earth, this phrase on the 
lips of the people came to be associated with the scientific 
theory that the earth is a flat, four-cornered body. Then 
when people read the Bible, they read into it this theory. 
Among the seed-thoughts, however, bequeathed by the 
Greek mind to the world was the suggestion made by 
Plato and others that the earth is a globe. Disregarded 
for ages this idea reappeared from time to time in various 
places. But it was utterly repugnant to those who found 
their geography in the Bible. The controversy between 
the Greek suggestion of a spherical earth and the ecclesi- 
astical geography waxed hotter and hotter, until appeared 
a certain Cosmas, surnamed Indicopleustes, obviously be- 


cause he had achieved the most unparalleled feat of mak- 
ing a voyage to India. Searching his Bible for proofs of 
the flat four-cornered theory, he came upon these words in 
Hebrews ix. 1, "A worldly sanctuary." In these words 
Cosmas finds scripture authority for his theory that the 
earth must be shaped like the Jewish sanctuary, which 
had four corners. Thus did Cosmas settle the question, 
and geography was accepted as revealed in the scriptures, 
so that to doubt any part of it was to be an infidel. 

This ecclesiastical geography held on its way for hun- 
dreds of years. When Columbus pleaded for ships and 
men that he might cross the Atlantic this ecclesiastical 
science of geography opposed him fiercely. If the earth 
were a globe there must be antipodes — men living oppo- 
site to our feet, so that they would be walking with their 
heads hanging down like flies crawling on the ceiling. It 
was only when the proofs grew to be overwhelming that 
very slowly the old error faded away, and ecclesiastics 
ceased to thunder from their pulpits the impiety of the 
new science of geography. Of course, the effect of this 
folly was to bring the church and the Bible into contempt 
with many intelligent persons. But when the storm had 
ceased the Bible was found intact and living, only certain 
spurious opinions that had been associated with the Bible 
wrongfully had been swept aAvay. Certain uninspired in- 
terpretations of scripture had been shown to be mistakes. 
But the word of God was unharmed. 

The Astronomical Controversy. 

Another controversy, says Chancellor Boggs, wdiich to 
many of the best men in the world seemed to threaten the 
very foundations of the faith, arose in connection with the 
new astronomy. The sacred writers frequently refer to 
the sun, moon and stars to set forth the wisdom, power 
and goodness of the Creator. The object is always a re- 
ligious one. Their object never is to teach us astronomy. 
They employ the only language which the men of early 
ages could comprehend — "the langiiage of the senses." 
We also in our day find it necessary to use this language 
still. The British Nautical Almanac, for example, which 
is thoroughly scientific, continues to speak of the sun ris- 


in<; and setting", though, of course, the editors of that 
scientific treatise know perfectly well that the appearance 
and disappearance of the sun are due not to his motion, 
but to the turning of the earth on her axis once in twenty- 
four hours. 

But in the course of time men began to reason and to 
speculate about the relative motions and magnitudes of 
the earth, the moon, sun and stars. And these crude the- 
ories, based at first on the obvious appearances of the 
heavenly bodies, became rooted in the minds of God's 
people. Naturally enough, they would unconsciously 
read these crude theories into their Bibles. Failing to 
consider that the Bible is not an encyclopaedia of human 
knowledge, but a purely religious book, they tried to fix 
upon it the yoke of their imperfect science. 

Among the priceless treasures bequeathed by Greek 
thought to the modern world, however, were the hints of a 
better astronomy. Facts had been observed which seemed 
to show that the sun, not our earth, is the centre of our 
system of worlds, and his apparent motion is our real 
motion transferred to him. Instances of such transferred 
motion were known to the ancients, as when we sit in a 
boat as it rapidly recedes from the shore, we misjudge ap- 
pearances and seem to see the shore moving back from us. 
Our eyes do not deceive us, but we misjudge the sigiis 
wdiich they give us. 

Thus, step by step, those who watched the heavenly 
bodies began to detect those less obvious facts which reveal 
the truth that the sun stands still and we move. By and 
by these hints fell upon fruitful soil and brought forth 
fruit. A certain priest of the Roman church, Kopernik 
by name, residing on the borders of Poland, became a 
deeply interested observer of the heavens. All that we 
know of him shows that he led a godly life, free from 
scandal and given to prayer and charitable deeds. For a 
time he was professor of astronomy at Rome, and without 
rebuke w^as allowed to expound his view ' 'purely as a 
hypothesis." After awhile he became convinced that the 
hypothesis was true. But he also knew tliat Rome was a 
very unsafe place in which to say what he thought. Re- 
turning to his parish on the borders of Poland he medi- 


tated, prayed, and then wrote his book. With the utmost 
secrecy it was printed, and when lie lay upon his death- 
bed, assured by his physician that he had but a few hours 
to live, he sent for his immortal work, kissed it, prayed 
over it', and then sent it out no more as a "mere hypoth- 
esis," but as a demonstrated truth to revolutionize the con- 
ceptions of mankind as to the grandeur and glory of this 
mighty universe. Death had placed him beyond the 
reach of torture, but it did not save his memory from re- 
proach as an innovator and an enemy of the word of God. 
And yet upon his tombstone is one of the most beautiful 
of Christian epitaphs : ''I ask not, Lord, that grace which 
thou gavest to Peter and to Paul, but such mercy as thou 
didst show to the thief on the cross." Yet the Pope caused 
his book, demonstrating that the sun is the fixed centre 
around which the earth and sister planets revolve, to be 
inserted on the Index Frohihitorum LihroriDti, which can 
only be read at the risk of one's soul. 

Nor was the Roman church alone in her denunciation 
of the Copernican heresy. Luther railed at the true 
science after this fashion, "People gave ear to an upstart 
astrologer who strove to show that the earth revolves, not 
the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon. . . . 
This fool wishes to reverse the entire science of astron- 
omy, but sacred scripture tells us that Joshua commanded 
the sun to stand still and not the earth." The mild and 
gentle Melanchthon was not a whit behind his great leader 
in his indignant denunciations : ''Now it is a want of hon- 
esty and decency to assert such notions publicly, and the 
example is pernicious. It is the part of a good mind to 
accept the truth as revealed by God and to acquiesce in 
it." He then cites passages to show what he imagines to 
be the science taught in the Bible. Calvin, too, condemns 
all who say that the earth is not the centre around which 
•sun and stars revolve, citing the scripture and demanding, 
"Who will venture to place the authority of Copernicus 
above that of the Holy Spirit ?" 

It is a sorrowful tale of poor Galileo. His telescope 
revealed to him the phases of Venus, and he saw the beau- 
tiful moons of Jupiter revolving around the mighty 
-planet, but his knowledge cost him dear. He was im- 


prisoned, dragged before the Inquisition and forced to» 
perjure himself in order to escape death. Ecclesiastical 
science continned to be taught in the nniversities of th& 
churches, Roman and Protestant. Men came through 
their knowledge of God's word to hate the church, and,, 
alas ! for them, to reject the Bible, which they were per- 
suaded by even ministers of the gospel held false views as 
to the earth and sun. But when the storm passed by, it 
was found entirely possible to hold to the Bible and the 
Copernican science. 

The Geological Controversy. 

This controversy. Chancellor Boggs, strictly speaking,, 
says, belongs to our outi age. Yet hints of the vast an- 
tiquity of the earth had been dropped by some clear- 
headed thinkers of ancient Greece. The suggestion was 
treated with scorn by such good men as Lactantius, called 
''The Christian Cicero," and by that far greater man,. 
Augustine, of Hippo in North Africa, who anticipated 
Calvin in developing from the scriptures that very system 
of doctrine which is embodied in the Westminster Con- 
fession of Faith. Jerome, the great biblical scholar, ex- 
plained the twisted and broken strata of the earth as spe- 
cial expressions of God's wrath against sin. The eloquent 
and vehement Tertullian made a suggestion that was to 
bear fruit in future. The fossils, he thought, were all of 
them the effects of the Noachian deluge. 

Curious indeed were the speculations of the schoolmen 
respecting these fossils. Some said fossils are due to a 
"stone-making force in nature." Some considered them 
to possess powers of propagation like animals and plants. 
The Eeformers gave no encouragement to these over- 
curious inquiries into the processes of creation. Pfeiffer, 
eminent in the Lutheran church in Germany, in his Pan- 
sophia Mosaica, sought to beat back all such efforts to be 
wise beyond the letter of scripture. Sir ]\Iatthew Hale, 
the eminent English lawyer and judge, took the same 
ground against scientific investigation into matters of 
which scripture treats. Leonardo da Vinci in Italy and 
Palissy of France caught glimpses of the truth, but their- 
thoughts were smothered by the theologians under suchi 


high-sounding phrases as "lapidific force," "seminal 
air," "tumultuous movement of terrestrial exhalations." 
And finally appeared the happy thought, "sports of na- 
ture," intimating the wonderful idea that God had just 
chosen without any apparent design to put these curious 
shells, bones and tracks into the fossil beds just as they 
appear without having created any animal creatures to- 
whom they belonged. Thus the farce went on. BufFon^ 
the eminent French naturalist, stated clearly the princi- 
ples of geology. But he found, poor man, that he was pre- 
mature. The doctors of the Sorbonne took him in hand 
for attacking the authority of scripture and extorted from 
him a recantation through terror. Well done, thou Ro- 
man Church in France ! But Protestants in England and 
America were not behind her. Bishop Burnet, John Wes- 
ley, Adam Clarke, Richard Watson, William Cowper 
(the writer of sweet hymns), Moses Stuart of Andover, 
and a host of other excellent men, pooh-poohed and jeered 
and scolded and anathematized geology and geologists. 
The bones of a great fossil lizard being unearthed in Ger- 
many, out came the learned Scheuchzer's explanation,, 
which set scientists to laughing and cursing: Homo Dilu- 
vii Testis — "A Man [Lizard!] Witnessing to the Del- 
uge." But such pious explanations were offensive to Vol- 
taire, who in the interests of infidelity sought to efface the- 
testimony of fossils to the Xoachian deluge by the origi- 
nal hypothesis that the fossil fishes discovered in the Alps 
were the remains of the fish provided by pilgrims for their 
journeys ; the fossil shells, he said, were oyster shells cast 
away by travellers who had eaten their contents, while an 
immense fossil animal was a skeleton from the museum 
of some ancient philosopher ! 

But, little by little, truth has prevailed. Inch by inch, 
the mistaken friends of the Bible have been driven from 
the field. A human interpretation has perished, but the 
word of our God abideth forever. 

The Evolutiox Coin^troveesy. 

Properly speaking the question of evolution concerns 
the possibility of the development of a new species. The 
exact point at issue between the older science and the new 


was this : Are the species of plants and animals absolutely 
fixed and immutable, or are they liable to such variations 
that under favorable conditions new species may arise by 
the processes of natural birth from older species ? To 
this question the older science, as represented by Cuvier 
and Agassiz,made answer that species are absolutely fixed 
within certain lines of variation that can never be crossed. 
As they first appear, so they continue until they disappear 
forever. But the new science represented by Darwin, 
Wallace, Mivart, Huxley, Helmholtz, and other authori- 
ties, holds that species are mutable ; that the lines of 
■separation are not immovable, but that under favorable 
conditions new species of plants and animals may arise by 
natural birth, the offspring being sufficiently unlike their 
parents to constitute the new species. 

Both the old science and the new seem, however, to 
agree that the evolution doctrine is still open to discus- 
sion, though only as an hypothesis, because, as they gen- 
erally seem to think, in point of fact, no instance of the 
origin of a new species has as yet fallen under human ob- 
servation. The evidence for evolution is circumstantial 

Here ends Chancellor Boggs's admirable introduction to 
my history of the evolution controversy. 

The new scientists, so far as I understand the matter, 
think they have discovered satisfactorily that the animal 
creation consisted in the beginning of a very few species 
with such a constitution of their nature as that from them 
other species might naturally arise occasionally. But 
here at the very beginning of these investigations we find 
theistic and atheistic evolutionists — the one class believ- 
ing in a personal God, the creator of all, the other class 
worshipping only what they call Xaturc. Both classes 
work peaceably and harmoniously together in their 
studies of natural science excepting in relation to that one 
point of difference. They both trace the successively aris- 
ing new species onwards and upwards until they come to 
man. Here the atheistic evolutionists find in mankind as 
much a simple product of evolution as any race of animals 
that preceded them. But the theistic evolutionists find in 
Adam the topmost glory of God's creating work upon the 


earth. The atheistic evolutionists, of course, renounce 
God together with both his works and his word. But the 
theistic evolutionists are Christian men, believing every 
word of the Bible, and maintaining that the Creator's 
word and works, each rightly understood, cannot contra- 
dict each other. These will not shut their eyes to any 
light which science really and truly sets before them. 
They put God's revealed word in the Bible above any hu- 
man science. With them there is no error in the scrip- 
tures as God originally gave them, and so they maintain 
that science also, rightly understood, can tell no lies. 
These persons allow full liberty to scientific investigation, 
satisfied that its work is not yet fully accomplished. 
While the canon of scripture was closed when the inspired 
John finished the Apocalypse, "unto which scriptures 
nothing is at any time to be added, whether by new revela- 
tions of the Spirit or traditions of men," yet on the other 
hand, science, no doubt, has and shall have much more to 
say in its o^vn peculiar line, and intelligent believers in 
tlie Bible are waiting to hear and to judge. 

I have just said that, according to my understanding of 
the matter, the theistic evolutionists find in Adam the 
topmost glory of God's creating work upon the earth. 
They seem to me to understand that it was the Trinity 
who spake those words, "Let us make man in our image 
after our likeness, and let them have dominion over all 
our created work. So God created man in his o\vn image ; 
in the image of God created he him, male and female 
created he them." God is one, yet God reveals himself as 
existing in three persons holding communion with one 
another, which is an insoluble mystery humbly believed 
by us, yet impossible to be comprehended by the human 
mind. And so God creates man, but not Adam alone, for 
out of Adam's side he evolves an help meet for Adam, so 
that while Adam was created an individual, he was yet to 
be the head of a race, he was to constitute a new species, 
and then God blessed them, and said unto them, Be fruit- 
ful and multiply, and replenish the earth and subdue it. 

I suppose that in a certain sense the history of theistic 
evolution may be said to end here. Rather let me say 
this hypothesis recognizes here a miraculous interruption 


of its course. Only the body of man, according to it, was 
evolved, that is, mediately created, while the Creator im- 
mediately unites to that body a rational and immortal 
•spirit, so that Adam arises, who is the glory of God's cre- 
ating work on the earth. Then, as the theistic evolution- 
ist reads in scripture, from the body of this immortal 
•creature thrown into a deep sleep one rib is taken, and out 
of it Eve is created a help meet for Adam, and they be- 
come the parents of the whole human race with all its 
varieties, for, as the Bible says, God has made of one 
blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the 
earth. Here again begins evolution, but it is of a new 
sort, for no new species have ever been or ever will be 
evolved. With the creation of this human race the Cre- 
ator's work of evolving successive species is finished. He 
is still creating, but he evolves no new species of created 
animals. The theistic evolutionist quotes for this view 
that after creating man, ''God rested on the seventh day 
from all his work which he had made." He had gradually 
Ijrought into being every kind of animal and plant neces- 
-sary for man's comfort. This was the end he had kept in 
-view from the beginning, preparing for the highest, the 
human creature, a suitable habitation on this earth. The 
Psalmist says, "The heaven, even the heavens are the 
Lord's, but the earth hath he given to the children of 
men." Thus they constitute a royal race, having domin- 
ion over all things upon this earth, and wearing the very 
image and likeness of their Creator. But our Saviour 
tells us, "My Father worketh hitherto and I work." Thus 
God's work of creation widely considered has never 
ended. He has not rested from that work. It is he that 
created every animal including insect, fish, reptile, bird 
or beast that has ever come into being since the first six 
days' work, but he has created them mediately. Just so 
has he created mediately the body of every child of Adam 
that ever was born, but the spirit of every such child he 
has created immediately. Theistic evolution maintains 
that in respect of these last his work before and after the 
six days has ever been precisely alike, human bodies me- 
diately created, human spirits immediately. 

Here now come the opposers of theistic evolution alleg- 


iug that this theory degrades Adam, head of the royal 
race. But it is answered, Adam degraded himself; and 
it might be asked if your pride cannot bow to the idea 
that the body of Adam the First had its origin among a 
race of innocent brutes, how can your faith glory in be- 
lieving that Adam the Second, the eternal Son of God, 
took to himself a body and dwelt in it for thirty-three 
years, and will dwell in it forever, that had its origin 
amongst a race of guilty sinners, while it was also nour- 
ished during all his life on earth by the flesh of beasts ? 

This general statement of the case as to the hypothesis 
of evolution would seem to show that unless the Bible is 
to be taken as a truly scientific book there could be little 
chance for a collision between it and the theistic evolution 
theory. In all the previous conflicts of physical science 
with the Bible, this mistake had been made by those who 
believed the scriptures. Evolution, theistically under- 
stood, is a purely secular question, not at all affecting re- 
ligion, which is all that the Bible is intended to teach. Its 
commission was not to teach zoology, nor geography, nor 
astronomy, nor geology, nor anything about what God 
may have done upon this globe before he gave it its pres- 
ent form and other arrangements, and finally placed it 
under man as its ruler and lord. It was revealed simply 
to teach what man, this final product of creation, '^is to 
believe concerning God and what duty God requires of 
man." But now a new^ mistake was added to the old one 
— the mistake of supposing that the study of God's works 
could evolve a contradiction of his word, or that physical 
science, properly interpreted, could tend to atheism. 
These are the points around which revolved our evolution 
controversy in the Southern Presbyterian Church. 

I must now take the reader back some twenty-five years 
to give some account of the origin of the Perkins profes- 
sorship, which has been involved in this controversy. It 
was in the fall of 1859 that the Synods of South Carolina, 
Georgia, and Alabama, in accordance with the conditions 
annexed to the generous endowment conferred on them 
by the Hon. Judge Perkins of ''The Oaks," near Colum- 
bus, Miss., added to the existing departments of instruc- 
tion in the Seminary, a chair to be entitled ''The Perkins 


Professorship of jSTatural Science in Connection with 
Kevelation; the design of which shall be to evince the 
harmony of science with the records of our faith, and to 
refute the objections of infidel naturalists." Well do I 
remember the extreme delight with which Dr. Thornwell 
welcomed this addition to our Seminary course of instruc- 
tion, how highly he appreciated the service done the Sem- 
inary at Columbia by the Rev. Dr. J. A. Lyon, the pastor 
of the venerable Judge Perkins, in assisting him to give 
the precise description of the object to which his munifi- 
cent endowment was to be applied. Dr. Thornwell did 
not share at all in the apprehensions expressed by Dr. 
Dabney, that the instructions of such a chair must have "a 
tendency towards naturalistic and anti-Christian opin- 
ions." He threw himself with the greatest ardor into as- 
sisting the endeavors of the Board of Directors to perfect 
the arrangements respecting this new chair. 

It fell first to the Synod of Georgia to choose the in- 
cumbent of this new chair, and they voted to place in it 
the Rev. James Woodrow, A. M., and in due time his 
election was confirmed by the other associated Synods of 
Alabama and South Carolina. Thus it came about that 
his inaugural was not delivered until November 22, 1861, 
at the succeeding meeting of the Synod of Georgia in the 
town of Marietta. It was delivered, however, not to the 
Synod, but to the Board of Directors of the Seminary, 
and for the purpose of obtaining their official counsel as 
to the discharge of his new duties. 

The Inaugural Address. 

The newly elected professor began his inaugural by 
expressing his "oppressive sense of responsibility and self 
distrust." Those feelings were increased by the fact that 
he was called to organize an entirely new department of 
instruction without a single similar chair in any theolog- 
ical school either in America or Europe to serve as a 
model," the chair of Xatural Science in the New (Theo- 
logical) College of the Free Church of Scotland, at Edin- 
burgh, ''forming no exception, because of the great differ- 
ence of design in the two chairs." The task assigned Pro- 
fessor Woodrow was all the more difficult on account of 


the various and even conflicting views which prevailed 
respecting its natnre, and the brief and somewhat indefi- 
nite instrnctions given him in the resolutions of the three 
synods. He was therefore glad of the ''opportunity to 
present his own views of what they had given him to do, 
and of the mode and spirit in which it ought to be done, 
so that, if he had not mistaken their design, he might go 
forward the more confidently ; but that if he had misap- 
prehended it, he might have the benefit of their counsels, 
and their instructions in changing, restricting, or extend- 
ing his plans." 

The Professor went on to say that the general de- 
sign was evident enough, and then to set forth three dif- 
ferent methods in which, as he supposed, it might be exe- 
cuted : 

''First, the harmony may be evinced by showing that 
science proves the existence of God, and that he has at- 
tributes identical, as far as nature reveals them, with such 
as are ascribed to him in his word. 

''Secondly, the harmony may be evinced by observing 
the analogy which subsists between nature and revelation 
in other respects than those which it belongs to natural 
theology to consider. 

"Thirdly, it may be the design of the professorship to 
evince the harmony only where it has been doubted or 
denied, or where opinions prevailing among scientific men 
either are or are supposed to be inconsistent with our 
sacred records ; in other words, to scrutinize the nature 
and the force of current and popular objections to the 
scriptures ; to meet them, and to set them aside by prov- 
ing that they spring either from science falsely so-called, 
or from incorrect interpretations of the words of the Holy 
Bible. This would involve a careful study of the funda- 
mental principles of the various branches of science from 
which the objections are drawn, and of their details car- 
ried far enough to enable one to judge correctly of the 
amount of truth in each objection. It would involve fur- 
ther the careful study of the principles of biblical inter- 
pretation as far as these relate to the mode in which the 
works of God are spoken of. The comparison of the re- 
sults obtained thus, if the processes have been properly 


condiictcd, must inevitably evince entire harmony, or, at 
least, the entire absence of discord." 

The Professor said he regarded this last as the field 
on which most labor was to be expended; not that the 
first tAvo are to be wholly neglected. And if this be the 
correct view of the field set before him, it will be proper 
to look more into the details and state some of the points 
of supposed antagonism between science and the scrip- 

1. It is affirmed as explicit teaching of scripture that 
the whole material universe was brought out of absolute 
non-existence not quite six thousand years ago ; from the 
first beginning of creation till the first human being not 
quite six days elapsed. On the other hand it is held that 
the earth had been in existence during immense and im- 
measurable periods of time prior to the creation of the 
first living being that has left any trace on the earth. In- 
timately connected is the question relating to the intro- 
duction of death. Was there death before Adam's sin ? 
Was death, millions of ages previously, connected with 
the first sin of man ? One side denies ; others think 
scripture affirms that death was utterly unknown before 
the fall. 

Then there are opposite views respecting the Xoachian 

The unity of the human race is another point of an- 

2. Other branches of knowledge come under the con- 
sideration of this chair because they have some connection 
with natural science and its controversy with the Bible, 
or at least they are so regarded in the popular mind. 
Egypt and her monuments ; the antiquity of the Chinese 
and the Hindoos and other Eastern nations belong to this 
class. The established chronology of these nations, it is 
claimed, sets aside by irrefragable proofs that of the He- 
brew Scriptures as entirely worthless, the fabrication of 
some modern sciolist. While it is held by many students 
of the Bible that man was created less than six thousand 
years ago, in opposition to this we are told that man has 
been in existence not less than thirty thousand to one hun- 
dred thousand years, and that this has been proved by the 


archseological monuments and the authentic chronology 
of many nations, no less than by geology and palaeon- 

The Professor went on to say that such were some of 
the questions showing the nature of all which it would 
be his duty to discuss before the Seminary classes. But 
what is the method to be pursued and in what spirit are 
these investigations to be carried on, and what results may 
be anticipated ? Evidently "it will be impossible to ascer- 
tain whether science and revelation agree or disagTee 
without an intimate acquaintance with both, as far as they 
are to be compared. To gain this, then, would seem to be 
the first thing to be done. While thus engaged the most 
untrammelled freedom of inquiry must be allowed ; and 
on both classes of subjects our decisions must be regulated 
by their proper evidence. In this preliminary investiga- 
tion we must neither be governed in our views of natural 
science by what we may have believed to be taught in the 
Bible; nor, on the other hand, must^we do violence to the 
words of the Bible under the influence of our belief in 
any supposed teachings of science. There must be the 
most unbiassed readiness to accept as truth whatever is 
proved. And yet, at the same time that we advance with 
the fullest liberty, it should be with the profoundest hu- 
mility and distrust of our own powers, joined with the 
deepest reverence for all that God makes known to us 
both in his works and in his word. Under the influence 
of such feelings, and proceeding with the firm conviction 
that truth, like its Author, is one, we can hardly fail to 
make progress in all attainable knowledge ; while we will 
be kept from the folly of believing that there are real 
inconsistencies, demonstrating error on one side or other, 
merely because we have not succeeded in comprehending 
the actual mode in Avhich the different sections of the 
truth are related to each other. Believing firmly and cor- 
dially that every part of the Bible is the very word of 
God, and that, therefore, every part of it is absolutely true 
in the sense in which it was the design of its real author, 
the Holy Spirit, that it should be understood, I also 
firmly believe that nothing will be found inconsistent 
with it in the established teachino-s of natural science as 


it is expounded bv its own votaries, and as its propositions 
are determined according to its o^^^l laws of investigation. 
Contradiction would necessarily imply a w^ant of truth 
somewhere ; but this, I think it may be made to appear 
by the most rigorous reasoning, does not exist. And in all 
cases where there are still unadjusted apparent diflfer- 
ences, which it must be admitted do exist, it can be shown 
that it is infinitely more probable that they result from 
imperfect understanding of the meaning of the word, or 
of the bearing of the scientific truth, or both, than from 
any real inconsistency. There are independent proposi- 
tions in intellectual and moral science, and even in the- 
ology, which are seemingly inconsistent and almost con- 
tradictory ; and yet we never think of abandoning our 
belief in any of them, if each stands on a firm basis of its 
own. In no case do the imperfectly understood relations 
under consideration present more serious difficulties than 
these, and very seldom as serious. I further believe that 
there is no seeming discrepancy where the denial of the 
truth on either side would not involve vastly more per- 
plexing embarrassment than its reception on both. We 
have nothing to fear for the records of our faith from the 
freest examination in every direction. Let antiquity be 
searched ; let the created universe be scrutinized, as far 
as the human intellect so gifted by its Creator can reach ; 
though in the process we shall see many errors which have 
clung around our own minds, and which may have pre- 
vented our seeing the meaning of the divine word, still 
that word will derive continually new lustre from every 
advance in knowledge, and unbelievers will at each step 
be more and more without excuse for their irrational 

Of the concluding parts of the inaugural this may be 
considered the smn : the Professor believes and will teach 
that there are no errors in nature ; none in the Bible, the 
original text being given. He holds the absolute iner- 
rancy of the text in the book of nature, and the very same 
of the book of revelation, there being given the true in- 
terpretation of the former and the true interpretation of 
the latter. Thus provided we cannot have any conflict, 
for all truth, like its Author, is one. Therefore, if tliore 


be any variance, there must be (1) false text or (2) false 
interpretation of nature or of scripture, one or both, or 
possibly only a false inference from some truth in nature 
or some truth in revelation. Adjust these — false text, or 
false interpretation, or false inference — and the supposed 
lack of harmony vanishes. 

This inaugural address most probably, although im- 
mediately published in the Southern Presbyterian Review 
of January, 1862, attracted very little attention. The 
war had just begun and both the Professor and his stu- 
dents were very soon in its service, as well as many of the 
ministers of our church. Had it been otherwise, had our 
ministers, elders, and other intelligent members of the 
church generally, become possessed of the Professor's 
views and duly considered them, possibly there had arisen 
no evolution controversy. There can be no falsehoods in 
the book of nature, said the Professor, and there can be 
none in the book of revelation. If only both be correctly 
understood, they cannot contradict each other, for they 
have one author. Both, however, present mysteries, many 
of them insoluble by us. Both deserve at our hands the 
most humble, reverent, patient and laborious investiga- 
tion, and "there must be allowed to any who would com- 
pare them together in the fear of God who gave them, un- 
trammelled freedom of inquiry. We must neither be 
governed in our views of natural science by what we may 
have understood to have been taught in the Bible ; nor, on 
the other hand, must we do violence to the words of the 
Bible under the influence of our acceptance of any sup- 
posed teachings of science. There must be the most un- 
biassed readiness to accept as truth whatever is unques- 
tionably proved." These views were just and true as put 
forth at Marietta, Ga., a quarter of a century ago, and 
would have been useful if well understood then and after- 
wards. They are just and true now. 

But in proportion as the views of Darwin and some 
other students of physical science like Darwin came to 
attract the attention of intelligent men amongst us, min- 
isters and elders who had not seen or read what had been 
«et forth by Dr. Woodrow in his inaugural began to in- 
quire into the bearing of the new physical science upon a 



number of doctrines which they had always supposed to be 
taught in the Bible. Moreover, as a professor at Colum- 
bia Theological Seminary had been set apart especially to 
make a study of physical science in its relations with rev- 
elation, it was very natural that there should arise a cu- 
riosity amongst our people to know what this professor 
would have to say about evolution, which was one of the 
questions which had recently arisen in the progress of 
scientific discovery. An open and straightforward de- 
mand for the publication of his views would have been 
perfectly legitimate and altogether suitable and becoming. 
It is just here that w^e reach the circumstances which gave 
rise to the evolution controversy in our church. I pro- 
ceed, therefore, to set them forth upon evidence which 
cannot be questioned. It is taken from the records of the 
Board of Directors. 

"At a meeting of the board on September 16 and 17, 1884, 
the following communication from Professor James Woodrow was 
read, and the board went into a committee of the whole to con- 
sider it: 

"Theological Seminary, Columbia, Septemier 16, 1884. 
"To the Board of Directors of the Theological Seminary of the Synod 
of South Carolina and Georgia. 

"Gentlemeiv: In the autumn of 1882 your report to the Synods 
contained certain expressions touching evolution which led me to 
regard it as my duty to take the earliest possible opportunity to call 
your attention specially to my instructions on that subject in the 
class-room, although 1 had already frequently done so at the suc- 
cessive annual examinations. Accordingly, at your next meeting, in 
May, 1883, I laid before you a brief statement as to the views held 
and taught by me. Thereupon, after receiving this brief statement 
that evolution does not contradict the Sacred Scriptures, etc., you 
did me the honor to request me to give my views more fully on this 
topic, and to publish them in the Southern Presbyterian Review, 
since 'scepticism in the world is using alleged discoveries in science 
to impugn the word of God.' 

"I have acceded to your request, and beg leave now to submit to 
you a copy of the article which I have published in accordance 
with it. 

"Yours very respectfully, James Woodrow, 

"Perkins Professor, etc."^ 


Here is tlie paragraph which contained the expressions, 
in the board's report of 1882, alluded to in the above letter 
of the Professor : 

"We bring you tidings of great joy, for our beloved Seminary, 
after being closed for two years, was reopened on September 14th. 
This should be a subject of rejoicing to the whole church, for it is 
no unimportant matter in these days, when there is so much defec- 
tion, even in theological seminaries, that our Southern Zion should 
have another institution, manned by those who are able and apt to 
teach the Westminster standards, and who are too honest to secretly 
impugn the verbal inspiration of any part of the original Scriptures, 
or to covertly teach evolution and other insidious errors that under- 
mine the foundations of our precious faith." 

The Address on Evolution. 

Here, then, I introduce in as condensed a form as I can 
the address, just referred to, by the Perkins Professor. 
It was delivered on the 7th of May, 1884, to the Alumni 
Association and the Board of Directors. It was then pub- 
lished in the July number of the Southern Presbyterian 
Review of that year, and it will be found in full in Vol. 
XXXV. of said Review. After referring to the joint 
request of the two bodies named which had called for this 
address, the Professor chose before entering on the dis- 
cussion of the specific subject of evolution in itself, and 
in its relations to the sacred scriptures, to consider the 
relations subsisting between the teachings of the scrip- 
tures and the teachings of natural science generally. 
"Was it antecedently probable that there is room for 
either agreement or disagreement ? We do not speak of 
the harmony between mathematics and chemistry or be- 
tween zoology and astronomy, or the reconciliation of 
physics and metaphysics. Why ? Because the subject 
matter of each of these branches of knowledge is so dif- 
ferent from the rest. We may say that some assertion 
made by astronomy cannot be correct because it contra- 
dicts some known truth of mathematics or physics. But 
yet in such case we would not proceed to look for harmony 
or reconciliation ; we would confine ourselves to the task 
of removing the contradiction by seeking the error which 
caused it, and which it proved to exist ; for we know that, 
as truth is one, two contradictories cannot both be true. 


"^[ay it not be that we have here a representation of 
the probable relations between the Bible and science, that 
the contents are so entirely different that it is vain and 
misleading to be searching for harmoriie^^; and that we 
should confine our efforts to the examination of real or 
seeming contradictions which may emerge, and rest satis- 
fied without attempting to go further, when we have dis- 
covered that there is no contradiction if it was only seem- 
ing, or have pointed out the error that caused it if real ?" 

The Professor now tests what he has said by special 
cases which once caused trouble, but have now been satis- 
factorily disposed of. For example, the difficulty with 
astronomy growing out of Genesis i. 16; Joshua x. 13. 
He then quotes Calvin, "Moses does not speak with philo- 
sophical acuteness on occult mysteries, but relates those 
thino's which are everywhere observed, even by the un- 
cultivated. . . . He wdio would learn astronomy and 
other recondite arts let him go elsewhere." And he adds : 

"Calvin's belief in the geocentric system no more in- 
terfered with his confidence in the Bible than does our 
belief in the heliocentric system interfere with our con- 
fidence in the same sure word." 

The Professor's next illustration is from geography. 
For centuries geographers taught as science that which 
was claimed to be in perfect accord witli the Bible in pas- 
sages which speak of four winds, four corners, four quar- 
ters of the earth. So the Bible and science were thus 
found to confirm each other. At last it was discovered 
that neither the Bible nor natural phenomena set forth 
what had been supposed. The Bible taught nothing about 
the shape of the earth and the phenomena of the earth dis- 
proved its being a four-cornered, immovable plain. So 
in other cases. All this from the past proves that "the 
Bible does not teach science ; and to take its language in 
a scientific sense is grossly to pervert its meaning." Yet 
the Professor insists the language of the Bible in all these 
cases does "express the exact truth." When, for example, 
it says that the sun rises, sun sets, sun stood still in Gib- 
eon, it "conveys exactly the thought intended." If so, 
then there is no ground for saying that these expressions 
are "inaccurate." A phenomenal truth is as much a truth 



as is the so-called scientific explanation of it. Science 
deals almost exclusively with the "explanation" of phe- 
nomena, but the Bible speaks of natural phenomena for 
their own sake, and never for the sake of their explana- 
tion or their scientific relations to each other. These 
principles admitted, many difficulties at once disappear. 
For example, the Bible (Lev. xi. and Deut. xiv.) classes 
coney and hare as animals that chew the cud ; the bat 
amongst birds ; the locust, the beetle and the grasshopper 
as flying creeping things that go upon all four. If these 
are to be regarded as "scientific," then we have a "sad 
batch of blunders." But in the sense intended — to de- 
scribe phenomena addressed to the eye — they are "cor- 
rectly used." "We understand by 'chewing the cud' 
bringing back into the mouth, for the purpose of being 
chewed, food which had been previously swallowed ; but 
if those to whom the words in question were addressed 
understood by them that motion of the mouth which ac- 
companies chewing, then they would recognize by this 
motion the hare and the coney as rightly characterized. 
So with the bat : in a scientific sense it is not a bird ; it is 
a mammal ; hence if we are teaching natural history we 
would grievously err in making such a classification. But 
in describing flying things which do not creep, the bat 
was rightly placed where it is. Two years ago the Legis- 
lature of South Carolina enacted that *^it shall not be law- 
ful for any person ... to destroy any bird whose 
principal food is insects, . . . comprising all the va- 
rieties of birds represented by the several families of 
bats, whip-poor-wills . . . humming-birds, blue- 
birds,' etc. Does this law prove that the legislature did 
not know that the bat in a natural history sense is not a 
bird ? They were not undertaking to teach zoology ; they 
wished to point out the flying animals whose principal 
food is insects, and with all propriety and accuracy they 
did it. So 'going on all four' when used in reference to 
the motion of animals may fairly be taken as applying to 
the prone position of the animal which is common to the 
quadruped and the insect, and not at all to the number of 
feet. In this sense the phrase with perfect accuracy ap- 
plies to the horizontal position of the locust and other 


insects; while the important natural history fact that 
the insect has six feet, and not four, is perfectly imma- 

In all tliese cases, as the Professor points ont, no con- 
tradiction is to be found, hut we cannot say that there is 
any harmony here. Then he demands, ''Is it not point- 
edly suggested by these instances that any exposition of 
scri])ture which seems to show that natural science is 
taught, is thereby proved to be incorrect ? For this reason 
I am strongly inclined to disbelieve the popular interpre- 
tations of the first chapter of Genesis which find there a 
compendium of the science of geology." "So in all other 
cases of supposed contradiction of the Bible by science, I 
have found that the fair, honest application of such prin- 
ciples has caused the contradiction to disappear. I have 
found nothing in my study of the holy Bible and of nat- 
ural science that shakes my firm belief in the divine in- 
spiration of every word of that Bible, and in the conse^ 
quent absolute truth, the absolute inerrancy, of every ex- 
pression which it contains, from beginning to end. While 
there are not a few things which I confess myself wholly 
unable to understand, yet I have found nothing which- 
contradicts other known truth. It ought to be observed 
that this is a very different thing from saying that I have 
found everything in the sacred scriptures to be in har- 
mony with natural science. To reach this result it would 
be necessary to know the exact meaning of every part of 
the scriptures, and the exact amount of truth in each 
scientific proposition. But to show that in any case there 
is no contradiction, all that is needed is to show that a 
reasonable supposition of what the passage in question 
may mean does not contradict the proved truth in science. 
We do not need to show that our interpretation must be 
correct, but only that it 7nay be correct — that it is not 
reached by distortion or perversion, but by an honest ap- 
plication of admitted principles of exegesis. 

"It should be noted that the matters respecting Mdiicli 
there are supposed to be inconsistencies between the teach- 
ings of science and the Bible, are such as cannot possibly 
directly affect any moral or religious truth ; but that they 
derive their importance to the Christian believer solely 


from the bearing they may have on the truthfulness of 
the scriptures. In the name of Christianity, belief in the 
existence of people living on the other side of the earth 
has been denounced as absurd and heretical ; but how is 
any moral duty or any doctrine of religion affected by 
this belief ? unless, indeed, it may be from doubt it may- 
cast upon the truthfulness of the Bible. And with this 
exception, what difference can it make with regard to any 
relation between ourselves and our fello^^^nen or between 
ourselves and God and the Lord Jesus Christ whether the 
earth came into existence six thousand years ago or six 
thousand million years ago ; whether the earth is flat or 
round ; whether it is the centre of the universe or on its 
edge; whether there has been one creation or many; 
whether the jSToachian deluge covered a million or two 
hundred million square miles ; and last of all I may add, 
whether the species of organic beings now on the earth 
were created mediately or immediately ? 

"After these preliminary observations, I proceed to dis- 
cuss the main subject of this address. Before answering 
the question, what do you think of evolution ? I must ask, 
what do you mean by evolution ?■ 

"When thinking of the origin of anything, we may in- 
quire, did it come into existence just as it is ? or did it 
pass through a series of changes from a previous state in 
order to reach its present condition ? For example, if we- 
think of a tree, we can conceive of it as having come im- 
mediately into existence just as we see it; or we may 
conceive of it as having begun its existence as a minute 
cell in connection with a similar tree, and as having 
reached its present condition by passing through a series 
of changes, continually approaching and at length reach- 
ing the form before us. Or, thinking of the earth, we can 
conceive of it as having come into existence with its pres- 
ent complex character ; or we may conceive of it as having 
begun to exist in the simplest possible state, and as having 
reached its present condition by passing through a long 
series of stages, each derived from its predecessor. To- 
the second of these modes, we apply the term evolution. 
It is evidently equivalent to derivation ; or in the case of 
organic beings, to descent. 


"This definition or description of evolution does not in- 
clude any reference to the power by which the origination 
is effected ; it refers to the mode, and to the mode alone. 
So far as the definition is concerned, the immediate exist- 
ence might be attributed to God or to chance ; the derived 
existence to inherent uncreated law, or to an almighty 
personal Creator, acting according to laws of his own 
framing. It is important to consider this distinction 
carefully, for it is wholly inconsistent with much that is 
said and believed by both advocates and opponents of evo- 
lution. It is not unusual to represent creation and evolu- 
tion as mutually exclusive, as contradictory: creation, 
meaning the immediate calling out of non-existence by 
divine power ; evolution, derivation from previous forms 
or states by inherent, self-originated or eternal laws, in- 
dependent of all connection with divine personal power. 
Ilence, if this is correct, those Avho believe in creation are 
theists ; those who believe in evolution are atheists. But 
there is no propriety in thus mingling in the definition 
two things which are so completely different as the power 
that produces an effect, and the mode in which the effect 
is produced. 

"The definition now given, which seems to me the only 
one which can be given within the limits of natural 
science, necessarily excludes the possibility of the ques- 
tions whether the doctrine is theistic or atheistic, whether 
it is religious or irreligious, moral or immoral. It would 
be as plainly absurd to ask these questions as to inquire 
whether the doctrine is white or black, square or round, 
light or heavy. In this respect it is like every other 
hypothesis or theory in science. These are qualities which 
do not belong to such subjects. The only question that 
can rationally be put is. Is the doctrine true or false ? If 
this statement is correct — and it is almost if not quite self- 
evident — it should at once end all disputes, not only be- 
tween evolution and religion, but between natural science 
and religion universally. To prove that the universe, the 
earth, and the organic beings upon the earth had once 
been in a different condition from the present, and had 
gradually reached the state which we now see, could not 
•disprove or tend to disprove the existence of God or the 


possession by him of a single attribute ever thought to be- 
long to him. How can our belief in this doctrine tend to 
weaken or destroy our belief that he is infinite, that he is 
eternal, that he is unchangeable in his being, or his wis- 
dom, or his power, or his holiness, or his justice, or his 
goodness, or his truth ? Or how can our rejection of the 
doctrine either strengthen or weaken our belief in him 'i 
Or how can either our acceptance or rejection of evolu- 
tion affect our love to God, or our recognition of our obli- 
gation to obey and serve him — carefully to keep all his 
commandments and ordinances ? 

''True, when we go outside the sphere of natural 
science and inquire whence this universe, questions in- 
volving theism forthwith arise. Whether it came into 
existence immediately or mediately is not material; but 
what or who brought it into existence ? Did it spring from 
the fortuitous concurrence of eternally existing atoms? 
Are the matter and the forces which act upon it in certain 
definite ways eternal ; and is the universe, as we behold 
it, the result of their blind, unconscious operation ? Or, 
on the other hand, was the universe in all its orderly com- 
plexity brought into existence by the will of an eternal 
personal spiritual God, one who is omniscient, omni- 
present, omnipotent ? These questions, of course, involve 
the very foundations of religion and morality ; but they 
lie wholly outside of natural science; and are, I repeat, 
not in the least affected by the decision of that other ques- 
tion, did the universe come into its present condition im- 
mediately or mediately ; instantly, in a moment, or grad- 
ually, through a long series of intermediate stages ? They 
are not affected by, nor do they affect, the truth or false- 
hood of evolution. 

"But, admitting that the truth of theism is not involved 
in the question before us, it may fairly be asked, does not 
the doctrine of evolution contradict the teachings of the 
Bible ? This renders it necessary to inquire whether the 
Bible teaches anything whatever as to the mode in which 
the world and its inhabitants were brought into their 
present state ; and if so, what that teaching is. 

"It does not seem to be antecedently probable that there 
would be any specific teaching there on the subject. We 


■have learned that 'the scriptures principally teach what 
man is to believe concerning God, and what dnty God re- 
quires of man' ; and that 'the whole counsel of God con- 
cerning all things necessary for his ovra glory, man's sal- 
vation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in scrip- 
ture, or by good and necessary consequence may be de- 
duced from scripture.' But this does not include the 
principles of natural science in any of its branches. We 
have already seen that it certainly does not include the 
teaching of astronomy or of geography; it does not in- 
clude anatomy or physiology, zoology or botany — a scien- 
tilic statement of the structure, growth, and classification 
of animals and plants. Is it any more likely that it in- 
cludes an account of the limits of the variation which the 
kinds of plants and animals may undergo, or the circum- 
stances and conditions by which such variation may be 
affected ? We would indeed expect to find God's relation 
to the world and all its inhabitants set forth ; but he is 
equally the Creator and Preserver, however it may have 
pleased him, through his creating and preserving power, 
to have brought the universe into its present state. He is 
as really and truly your Creator, though you are the de- 
scendant of hundreds of ancestors, as he was of the first 
particle of matter which he called into being, or the first 
plant or animal, or the first angel in heaven. 

"So much at least seems clear — that whatever the Bible 
may say touching the mode of creation, is merely inciden- 
tal to its main design, and must be interpreted accord- 
ingly. Well may we repeat with Calvin, 'He who would 
learn astronomy and other recondite arts, let him go else- 

"It is further to be observed that whatever may be 
taught is contained in the first part of the oldest book in 
the world, in a dead language, with a very limited litera- 
ture ; that the record is extremely brief, compressing an 
account of the most stupendous events into the smallest 
compass, ^ow the more remote from the present is any 
event recorded in human language, the more completely 
any language deserves to be called dead, the more limited 
its contemporaneous literature, the briefer the record it- 
self, the more obscure must that record be — the more dif- 


ficult it must be to ascertain its exact meaning, and espe- 
cially that part of its meaning which is merely incidental 
to its main design. As to the portions which bear on that 
design, the obscurity w^ill be illuminated by the light cast 
backw^ards from the later and fuller and clearer parts of 
the Bible. But on that with which we are now specially 
concerned no such light is likely to fall. 

''To illustrate this point I may refer to other parts of 
this early record. In the account of the temptation of 
Eve we have a circumstantial and apparently very plain 
description of the being that tempted her. It was a ser- 
pent ; and we read that the serpent was more subtile than 
any beast of the field. Further, it was a beast which was 
to go upon its belly, and whose head could be bruised. 
Surely, it might be said, it is perfectly plain that the 
record should cause us to believe that it was a mere beast 
of the field, a mere serpent, that tempted Eve. But to 
narrate the fall of man is not simply incidental to the de- 
sign of the Bible ; on the contrary, its chief design may 
be said to be to record that fall and to show how man may 
recover from it. Hence from the later parts of the Bible 
we learn that the tempter was no beast of the field, as 
•seems to be so clearly stated ; but it was 'the dragon, that 
old serpent, which is the devil, even Satan,' whatever may 
have been the guise in which he appeared to our first 

"Then from the sentence pronounced upon the serpent, 
'I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and be- 
tween thy seed and her seed ; it shall bruise thy head, 
and thou shalt bruise his heel' ; from this it would seem to 
be clear that what we are here taught, and all that we are 
here taught, is that the woman's son was to crush the head 
of the beast, whilst his own heel would be bruised ; 
w^hereas we learn from books which come after, that this 
sentence really contains the germ of the entire plan of 
salvation ; and that the woman's son who was to bruise 
the serpent's head at such cost to himself is Jesus the 
Saviour, who on Calvary through his death destroyed 
'him that had the power of death, that is, the devil.' ISTow 
since in these cases, where the meaning seems to be so un- 
mistakably clear, and where the subject matter belongs to 


the main design of the book, and yet where the real mean- 
ing is so entirely different, as we learn from the later 
scriptures, how cautious we should be not to feel too con- 
fident that we have certainly reached the true meaning in 
cases where the subject matter is merely incidental, and 
where no light falls back from the later scriptures to guide 
us aright ! 

"The actual examination of the sacred record seems to 
me to show that the obscurity exists which might have 
been reasonably anticipated. It is clear that God is there 
represented as doing whatever is done. But whether in 
this record the limitless universe to the remotest star or 
nebula is spoken of, or only some portion of it, and if the 
latter, what portion, I cannot tell. And if there is an ac- 
count of the methods according to which God proceeded in 
his creative work, I cannot perceive it. It is said that 
God created ; but, so far as I can see, it is not said how 
he created. We are told nothing that contradicts the sup- 
position, for example, that in creating our earth and the 
solar system of which it forms a part, he brought the 
whole into existence very much in the condition in which 
we now see the several parts ; or, on the other hand, that 
he proceeded by the steps indicated in what is called the 
nebular hypothesis. Just as the contrary beliefs of Cal- 
vin and ourselves touching the centre of the solar system 
fail to contradict a single word in the Bible, so the con- 
trary beliefs of those who accept and those who reject the 
nebular hvpothesis fail to contradict a single word of the 

"I regard the same statements as true when made re- 
specting the origin of the almost numberless species of 
organic beings which noM'^ exist and which have existed in 
the past. In the Bible I find nothing that contradicts the 
belief that God immediately brought into existence each 
form independently ; or that contradicts the contrary be- 
lief that, having originated one or a few forms, he caused 
all the others to spring from these in accordance with 
laws which he ordained and makes operative. 

"If that which is perhaps the most commonly received 
interpretation of the biblical record of creation is correct, 
then it is certain that the Bible implicitly yet distinctly 


teaches the doctrine of evolution. According to this in- 
terpretation, the record contains an account of the first 
and only origination of plants and animals, and all that 
exist now or that have existed from the beginning are 
their descendants. If, then, we have the means of ascer- 
taining the characteristics of these ancestors of existing 
kinds," we can learn whether they were identical with 
their descendants or not. If the early forms were the 
same as the present, then the hypothesis of evolution or 
descent with modification is not true ; but if they were 
different, then it is true. Xow not indeed the very ear- 
liest, but great numbers of the earlier forms of animals 
and plants have been preserved to the present day buried 
in the earth, so that we can see for ourselves what they 
were. An examination of these remains makes it abso- 
lutely certain that none of the species now existing are the 
same as the earlier, but that these were wholly unlike 
those now living; and that there have been constant 
changes in progress from the remote ages of the past, the 
effect of which has been by degrees to bring the unlike 
forms of a distant antiquity into likeness with those which 
are now on the earth. Hence, all who believe that the 
creation described in the Bible was the origination of the 
ancestors of the organic forms that have since existed, can- 
not help believing in the hypothesis of evolution. This is 
so obvious that it is surprising that it has been so generally 

"There seems to be no way of avoiding this conclusion, 
except by assuming that the so-called remains of animals 
and plants buried in the earth are not really remains of 
being that were once alive, but that God created them just 
as we find them. But this assumption must be rejected 
because it is inconsistent with a belief in God as a God of 
truth. It is impossible to believe that a God of truth 
would create corpses or skeletons or drift-wood or stumps. 

''If the interpretation which I have spoken of as per- 
haps most commonly received is rejected, then it may be 
thought that the Bible speaks only of the first origination 
of oi'S'anic being's millions of vears asi-o, but savs nothino; 
of the origin of the ancestors of those now on the earth ; 
but that it may be supposed that when one creation be- 


came extinct, there were other successive immediate in- 
dependent creations down to the beginning; of the present 
era. There may bo nothing in the Bible contradicting 
this supposition, but certainly there is nothing there fa- 
voring it. And if it is rejected in favor of evolution, it is 
not an interpretation of scripture that is rejected, but 
something that confessedly lies outside of it. 

"Or, in the next place, the interpretation may be 
adopted that the narrative in the Bible relates exclusively 
to the origination of existing forms, and that it is wholly 
silent respecting those of which we find the buried re- 
mains. It need hardly be said that on this interpretation, 
as in the last case, there is nothing in the silence of the 
scriptures that either suggests or forbids belief in evolu- 
tion as regards all the creations preceding the last. For 
anything that appears to the contrary, the multitudes of 
successively different forms belonging to series unmen- 
tioned in scripture may have sprung from a common 
source in accordance with the doctrine of descent with 

"When we reach the account of the origin of man, we 
find it more detailed. In the first narrative there is noth- 
ing that suggests the mode of creating any more than in 
the case of the earth, or the plants and animals. But in 
the second we are told that 'the Lord God formed man of 
the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the 
breath of life, and man became a living soul.' Here 
seems to be a definite statement utterly inconsistent with 
the belief that man, either in body or soul, is the descend- 
ant of other organized beings. At first sight the state- 
ment that 'man was formed of the dust of the ground,' 
■seems to point out with unmistakable clearness the exact 
nature of the material of which man's body was made. 
But further examination does not strengthen this view. 
For remembering the principles and facts already stated, 
and seeking to ascertain the meaning of 'dust of the 
ground' by examining how the same words are employed 
elsewhere in the narrative, the sharp definiteness which 
seemed at first to be so plainly visible somewhat disap- 
]"»oars. For example, we are told in one place that the 
waters were commanded to bring forth the moving crea- 


ture that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth ; 
and the command was obeyed. And yet in another place 
w^e are told that out of the ground the Lord God formed 
€very beast of the field and every fowl of the air. TTow 
as both these statements are triie, it is evident that there 
<?an be no intention to describe the material employed. 
There was some sort of connection with the water, and 
some with the ground ; but beyond this nothing is clear. 
Then, further, in the sentence which God pronounced 
upon Adam, he says, 'Out of the ground wast thou taken ; 
for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.' And 
in the curse uttered against the serpent it was said, 'Dust 
shalt thou eat all the days of thy life.' Kow Adam, to 
whom God was speaking, was flesh and blood and bone; 
and the food of serpents then as now consisted of the same 
substances, flesh and blood. The only proper conclusion 
in view of these facts seems to be that the narrative does 
not intend to distingiiish in accordance with chemical 
notions different kinds of matter, specifying here inor- 
ganic in different states, and there organic, but merely to 
refer in a general incidental way to previously existing 
matter, without intending or attempting to describe its 
exact nature. For such reasons it does not seem to me 
certain that we have a definite statement which neces- 
sarilv convevs the first meanina; mentioned touchinsr the 
material used in the formation of man's body. If this 
point is doubtful, there would seem to be no ground for 
attributing a dift'erent origin to man's body from that 
which should be attributed to animals ; if the existing 
animal species were immediately created, so was man ;